Dakar, Senegal, 23 April 2020. The Senegalese Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy has approached the consultative committee for fishing licences attribution (CCAL) to issue 54 licenses to vessels of Chinese and Turkish origin, [1], some of which implicated in IUU fishing denounced by Greenpeace.[2]

“As we wait for the devastating social and economic consequences of COVID-19 to unfold,[3] Senegal and other West African countries must reserve their fish stocks for the livelihood of their people. Any authorization to new fishing vessels would drain the ocean and could drown millions in rising levels of food insecurity,” says Dr. Ibrahima Cissé, Senior Ocean Campaign Manager at Greenpeace Africa. “Fish prices are soaring as stocks are near a point of no-return. As we fight a global pandemic, we should pause to rewrite the rules of our economy and our relations with nature,” Dr. Cissé added.

The license application process is adding pressure to fishermen, female fish processors and an entire artisanal economy that is already struggling to compete with large-scale fishing and fishmeal companies, whose vessels have doubled their operations in Senegal’s waters since 2012.[4] Furthermore, in the last weeks communities have been facing even more difficulties, with restrictions on access to marine areas imposed by the COVID-19 lock-down. 

“Mismanagement, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and an expanding fishmeal and fish oil industry are leading to poverty, clandestine migration, and fishermen disappearing at sea. While Senegal’s government negotiates for its fishermen to work in neighbouring countries, there is no sense in granting new licences to foreign vessels to compete over the same dwindling resources. Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Alioune Ndoye, must respect the science and Senegal’s own commitments[4] to give the ocean and its coastal communities a chance to recover,” Dr. Cissé concluded.

Since 15 years, Greenpeace Africa is campaigning with unions and other NGOs to put an end to the decades of overexploitation of West African fish stocks and inadequate policies. Last year, Greenpeace Africa launched a campaign to stop environmentally, economically and socially unsustainable fishmeal and fish oil factory expansion in Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania.[6]


Dr. Ibrahima Cissé, Senior Ocean Campaign Manager Greenpeace Africa, Tel: 221 770998842, email: [email protected]

Tal Harris, International Communications Coordinator for Greenpeace Africa, Tel: +221 774 64 31 95, E-mail: [email protected]

Christina Koll, Communications Coordinator, Greenpeace International (for international media requests): Tel: +4528109021, E-mail:[email protected] 


[1] According to senegalese ship owners association (GAIPES), 54 new applications for fishing licenses for Chinese and Turkish vessels have been submitted to the Senegalese Fishing Licensing Advisory Committee: http://xalimasn.com/lettre-ouverte-du-gaipes-a-monsieur-alioune-ndoye-ministre-des-peches-et-de-leconomie-maritime-relative-aux-52-demandes-de-promesses-de-licences-de-peche-destinees-a-des-navires-chinois/


[2] http://ibdigital.uib.es/greenstone/collect/cd2/index/assoc/gp0147.dir/gp0147.pdf

[3] https://apnews.com/a8ceacd304ac55a8af77fdc681ff8259

[4] In June 2019, Greenpeace released the report “A Waste of Fish”, explaining how West African fish stocks are in a deep crisis due to various stressors. Fish are an important protein source with an annual consumption per capita of 29.9 kg or around 70% of the populations’ animal protein needs. https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-international-stateless/2019/06/56fbee4b-a-waste-of-fish-report-en-high-res.pdf

– In the last seven years, the number of large-scale fishing vessels with licenses to fish in Senegalese waters has doubled from 80 boats in 2012 to 164 boats in 2019. cf :liste des navires autorisés à pêcher au Sénégal 2019, MPEM 

[5] In 2016, a new Senegalse fishing code was produced to guarantee sustainable fisheries management development: http://www.jo.gouv.sn/spip.php?article10996

– The sectoral policy letter defining the general fisheries policy in Senegal: 


– The Senegalse government is a signatory to several national and international agreements: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),adopted and signed in 1982, become the legal framework for marine and maritime activities: https://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e.pdf

– The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls all countries to act to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and work to preserve our oceans: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

[6] Greenpeace is working to stop the expansion of fishmeal and fish oil factories (FMFO), using whole fish that should be used to feed people in West Africa rather than being processed and exported to Europe and Asia for the aquaculture and livestock industries. In West Africa, FMFO expansion threatens regional fish stocks, but the livelihoods of up to 40 million people: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/22494/fishmeal-industry-stealing-food-west-africa/