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

 

Black Anniversary to SGSOC!

Blog entry by Chief Ejeba Ewane Joseph & Chief Ekue John Epimba | November 25, 2016

Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), your provisional grant began on the 25th of November 2013 and today November 25 marks the end of your provisional grant. Thus, we the chiefs of Ikoti and Babensi II would like to present...

New trade protections for sharks - but are they enough?

Blog entry by Willie Mackenzie | November 18, 2016

All rights reserved . Credit: BBC, Carlos Aguilera Hoo-RAY! A Mobular ray leaps from the ocean after hearing about the new CITES protection for sharks. Like it or not, around the world many species of...

What to expect during COP22 - our expectations for the results

Blog entry by Jennifer Morgan | November 7, 2016

With the Paris Agreement coming into force the week before this big  UN climate meeting , the timing couldn’t be better for swiftly moving forward. Paris accelerates the transition to the zero carbon economy that is already...

The inevitable transformation - why swift action is needed to stay below 1.5

Blog entry by Jennifer Morgan | November 7, 2016

Last year, 197 countries adopted the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. Today (November 4th) it comes into force, in one of the fastest ratifications of any international agreement. In 2015 at COP21 in Paris,...

Shopping Clean: Retailers and Renewable Energy

Publication | October 26, 2016 at 12:08

South Africa’s retail sector plays an important role in society and has developed over time to meet the changing needs of the country. As such, this update of the report released by Greenpeace Africa in April 2016 titled “Shopping Clean –...

Whale Fail – no new sanctuary in the South Atlantic (again).

Blog entry by Willie Mackenzie | October 25, 2016

All rights reserved . Credit: Twitter Bad news from the 2016 International Whaling Commission meeting – as the first significant vote was another disappointment for whales and supporters of conservation.

10 good reasons to protect whales

Blog entry by Willie Mackenzie | October 24, 2016

All rights reserved . Credit: Kate Davison Killing whales for food has been happening for millennia. But it was commercial whaling – turning whales into barrels of oil for profit – that led to the wholesale...

UMOJA - Supporter Newsletter

Publication | October 13, 2016 at 13:39

This first issue of the newsletter is dedicated to you, our loyal supporters who makes our work possible.

Let’s stop SGSOC palm oil plantation project

Blog entry by Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue | October 4, 2016

When I arrived in Babensi II village last July, the whole community was desperately expecting Greenpeace and its partners to provide them with answers and solutions to get their land back. For three years now, many of them have been...

Greenpeace expresses condolences to the families of the victims

Blog entry by Irene Wabiwa Betoko | September 28, 2016

Greenpeace Africa wishes to express its sincere condolences to the victims of the violence that hit the Democratic Republic of Congo in September 2016 and their families. We sympathize with those who lost their loved ones and who...

41 - 50 of 1180 results.