New evidence shows Chinese, West African governments must rein in rogue fishing fleet 

Beijing/Dakar, 20 May 2015 – At least 74 fishing vessels owned and operated by four Chinese Distant Water Fishing (DWF)companies have been exposed for fishing illegally in prohibited fishing grounds in West Africa and falsifying their gross tonnage, according to findings from a two-year investigation by Greenpeace East Asia and Greenpeace Africa.

The investigation implicates the vessels in 82 cases of demonstrated and potential cases of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities and gross tonnage fraud, in Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Ghana, and includes China’s largest DWF company, China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC). The cases date between 2000-2014, with the oldest case as far back as 1988.

“While China extended a hand in friendship during the Ebola outbreak, rogue Chinese companies were unlawfully exploiting West Africa’s marine environment. They were taking advantage of weak enforcement and supervision from local and Chinese authorities to the detriment of local fishermen and the environment,” said Rashid Kang, head of Greenpeace East Asia’s China Ocean Campaign.

“China’s Distant Water Fishing industry constitutes less than 0.1 percent of its global overseas investment. But unless the government reigns in this element of rogue companies, they will seriously jeopardize what the Chinese government calls its mutually-beneficial partnership with West Africa,” said Kang.

The most recent cases were witnessed by Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza, which sailed through the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea between 26 October and 21 November 2014. In Guinean waters alone, the shipdocumented 16 illegal fishing activities by 12 Chinese-flagged or owned vessels, making an average of one Chinese IUU case every two days while the MY Esperanza was at sea.

Recent Greenpeace Africa findings also show that Chinese Distant Water Fishing vessels are illegally falsifying vessel gross tonnage in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea in 2014. China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC), for instance, under-declared gross tonnage for 44 of the 59 vessels it operates in the three West African countries, which not only evades licensing fees, but also illegally gives these higher volume vessels access to prohibited areas. 

“While the Chinese government is starting to eliminate some of the most destructive fishing practices in its own waters, the loopholes in existing policies lead to a double standard in Africa. If China wants to be a genuine friend of Africa, it should follow the path of EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, which is slowly rectifying the EU’s own history of irresponsible fishing in the region,” said Ahmed Diamé, Greenpeace Africa Ocean Campaigner.

“The absence of efficient fisheries management in some West African states allows Distant Water Fishing companies to plunder marine resources with relative impunity. It’s time African governments strengthen governance and close all loopholes in existing laws,” said Diamé.

Over the last 15 years, Greenpeace has also investigated and exposed illegal and destructive fishing practices by EU, Korean and Russian fishing vessels in Africa. As a result of declining domestic fish stocks, Chinese companies have expanded their fishing operations in Africa from 13 vessels in 1985 to 462 vessels in 2013. Many of the companies operating in the region have history of illegal fishing activities.

Between 2000-2006 and 2011-2013, there were at least 183 documented IUU fishing cases in just six West African countries (Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone) – all of which involved Chinese owned or flagged vessels with at least 31% of them have engaged in illegal fishing activities more than once. Most of these vessels are bottom trawlers, one the most destructive fishing vessels in the industry.

YOU can help put an end to fraudulent fishing in West-Africa. SIGN the petition!

Download the full report: "Africa’s fisheries’ paradise at a crossroads"

Notes to editors:

  1. The report “Africa’s fisheries’ paradise at a crossroads
  2. Photos can be accessed here: http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&LBID=27MZKTYHTA0&CT=Lightbox
  3. Video evidence can be supplied on demand.

Media contacts: 

Tristan Tremschnig, Communications Hub Manager – Asia Pacific (Hong Kong), Greenpeace International, mobile: +852 9712 3301, email:

Zi Lin, Communication Officer, Greenpeace East Asia (Beijing), mobile: +8618911869884,

email: ,

Bakary Coulibaly, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Africa (Dakar), mobile: +221773336265 email:

 

 

 

The latest updates

 

I can still feel the enthusiasm of our Cameroon volunteers!

Blog entry by Njeri Kabeberi | March 15, 2018

As I stepped out of the plane at the Yaounde international airport, the humid twenty-eight degree Celsius  (28⁰C) midday temperature engulfed  my face and though perspiring, it gave me the feeling of a warm welcome to the capital of...

Illegal fishing - game over for repeat offenders

Blog entry by Pavel Klinckhamers | March 14, 2018

Greenpeace campaigner, Pavel Klinckhamers, looks out for fishing boats with binoculars from the Esperanza's monkey island. Sometimes, results of our work are not immediately visible, and lots of behind the scenes work and...

Mega coal plants versus people of South Africa:

Feature story | March 8, 2018 at 11:36

South Africa is currently facing up to the reality of a mega water crisis over three provinces. The water crisis has been declared a national disaster, which means that the national government recognises that the impacts of the water crisis go...

Pressing forward with Greenpeace Africa: gender parity worth emulating

Blog entry by Ngumfor Abinwi | March 7, 2018

A question that keeps lurking in my mind in our competitive world is: “Does gender equality make the world a better place?” I will say YES! It’s saddening after how many years of women proving their worth to the world, that we keep...

Prisca Nafula Mayende: A Rural Activist Transforming Women’s Lives in Bungoma County

Blog entry by Hellen Dena | March 2, 2018

Prisca hails from a small village called Naigai in Bungoma County, Western Kenya. The  energetic mother of nine lives with her  husband and children on her 3.8 acre farm. Her husband works on another shamba (farm) owned by the family...

A little more on plastics

Blog entry by Chemitei Janet | February 27, 2018

Plastic bags - what's not to love about them. They are cheap and lightweight enough for us to put anything in them, from food to clothes and so much more. Plastics are more or less a part of us, objects we find it hard to part with.

Penguins March to Cape Town

Blog entry by Akshley Kalra | February 26, 2018

People around the world are waking up to pictures of penguin sightings across the globe. The penguins have been spotted travelling on trains, arriving at international airports and at iconic landmarks. From Sydney to Buenos Aires and...

5 More Things Businesses Can Do Now That They’ve Realised #StrawsSuck

Blog entry by Angelo C Louw | February 26, 2018

The #StrawsSuck movement is gaining momentum the world over. Aiming to curb usage of single-use plastics, the campaign urges all individuals and businesses to stop using plastic straws – and many South African food franchises...

5 things you (probably) didn't know about the Antarctic

Blog entry by Samantha Wockner | February 2, 2018

In 2017 we launched a campaign to create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary - the largest protected area on Earth. But why? Well, apart from being home to amazing animals such as penguins, whales and seals. The Antarctic plays an important...

UMOJA

Publication | January 22, 2018 at 15:54

In this January edition, learn about our journey through the Congo Basin forest, the Climate March at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn, what we got upto on International Coastal Clean-Up Day and more!

21 - 30 of 1220 results.