Over 6,000 Senegalese fishermen challenge politicians to put communities first

Press release - January 19, 2012
Today, the “My voice, my future” caravan organized by Greenpeace and small-scale fishing communities ended with a call on Senegalese politicians to take into account their concerns over the depletion of fish stocks and the massive impact of foreign super-trawlers on this fragile resource. In the run-up of presidential elections slated for the end of February, communities ask candidates to commit to action, including the termination of licenses for the unsustainable foreign industrial fleet.

During the week-long caravan, more than 6,000 representatives from the large fishing ports of Ziguinchor, Kafountine, Kayar, Joal, St Louis, Mbour, Soumbedioune, Hann and Thiaroy expressed concerns about intensifying plunder of their marine resources. Fishermen symbolically placed their hand-prints on large banner reading “Your voice counts, make it heard now”, urging politicians to listen to them, rather than favour foreign economic interests, and take urgent action.    

“The decline in stocks forces fishermen to venture canoes still further, into the neighboring countries. It is the direct consequence of uncontrolled and excessive exploitation of the oceans, translated in particular by the delivery of fishing authorizations to huge foreign trawlers, which literally “suck up” the local resource”, said Raoul Monsembula, Ocean Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.

The fishermen request transparency and good governance in the fishery sector as well as the allocation of substantial financial resources to support fishery related scientific research and control in order to overcome IUU fishing (fraud and piracy) and unsustainable practices.

Greenpeace and small-scale fishermen urge presidential candidates to commit to stop issuing fishing authorizations to foreign vessels, and to support the local fishery sector which employs around one million people and provides proteins to many Senegalese. Greenpeace also calls for the creation of a network of marine reserves in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Senegal to allow the fish stocks to regenerate. 

 “As they seek votes, politicians and particularly presidential candidates should seriously address sustainable fishing as it represents an important socio-economic issue for Senegalese. It’s about their food, their livelihoods and their future”, Monsembula concluded.

Contact:

1.     Ahmed Diamé, Communications Officer Greenpeace Africa. Tel: +221 77 332 89 93-

2.     Raoul Monsembula, Ocean Campaigner Greenpeace Africa. Tel: +221 77 332 89 94-

Images available – contact Ahmed Diamé