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 saw the plunder of our oceans with my own eyes"

Blog entry by Ahmed Diame, oceans campaigner | April 21, 2017

Four days, four cases of illegal fishing in Sierra Leone   It was just before lunchtime on the Esperanza when a dot appeared unexpectedly on our radar. The onboard team had been discussing the four kilograms of shark fins we had...

Hope in West Africa Ship Tour Briefer

Publication | April 8, 2017 at 18:05

This spring, the Greenpeace ship ‘Esperanza’ and its crew set course to West Africa to document the beauties of these rich waters, and bear witness to a growing threat to food security from decades of overfishing.

"Fishing from the sky", empty nets, dead fish and the plight of West African fisher folks

Blog entry by Mbong Akiy Fokwa Tsafack | April 7, 2017

Travelling in Africa is bittersweet.  I always appreciate the warmth of fellow Africans, the humanity that characterises daily life and the untold stories of Ubuntu. But there is a dark side. If poverty and quality of life are measured...

My night on board a Chinese fishing vessel in West Africa

Blog entry by Bolei Liu | March 30, 2017

I am currently sailing with Greenpeace’s beautiful Esperanza on a ship tour called “ Hope in West Africa ” to protect the invaluable fishery resources of that region. As part of our investigation and research works in Mauritanian...

A day at sea: Wildlife encounters

Blog entry by Maryline Mangenot | March 9, 2017

On March 1st 2017, the Esperanza ship sailed to the Praia harbour in Cape Verde to begin its journey in West African waters. One goal: show local governments that there is a serious need for strong regional fisheries management . ...

Our oceans, our responsibility

Blog entry by Mike Fincken | February 24, 2017

For some people the oceans may seem vast - to me they are my garden and my home. For the last three decades I have spent most of my life as a sailor and a captain. So you can imagine I feel a special tie to our blue planet. The many...

Greenpeace ships: Warriors at Sea

Blog entry by Lerato Tsotetsi | February 12, 2017

1971. This was the year it all began. You’ve heard the story about how a boat load of (very brave) volunteers and journalists sailed to Alaska to stop the American government from running nuclear tests? The U.S government started...

DRC donors release 40million dollars after illegal award of 4000km2 of forest

Publication | February 7, 2017 at 13:27

Only a month after he was forced to cancel three logging concession contracts that his predecessor signed last year in violation of a 2002 freeze on new allocations, DRC’s ex-Environment Minister Robert Bopolo Mbongeza awarded a new permit to an...

Donors remain indifferent as moratorium breaches occur in the DRC

Blog entry by Irene Wabiwa Betoko | February 3, 2017

The forest industry in the DRC has been plagued for years by confusion, uncertainties and illegalities. Although the country pays lip service to the principles of reducing emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD), this is...

#BridgesNotWalls: It’s Time for Solidarity, Love and Hope

Blog entry by Greenpeace Africa | January 18, 2017

This Friday, January 20th, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, after a year when the politics of hate, fear and division blossomed around the world. We at Greenpeace are rejecting the message...

31 - 40 of 1186 results.