Greenpeace has welcomed the decision of the Senegalese government to cancel licences for pelagic fishing issued to 29 foreign trawlers from Russia, Comoros, Lithuania, Saint Vincent Grenadine and Belize.
“These kinds of licences are a direct threat to employment and food security for millions of Senegalese who have been dependent on fishing for centuries,” Raoul Monsembula, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace, said in press statement here Thursday.
West Africa’s fish stocks are severely pressured by over-exploitation, mainly by destructive high-tech Russian, Asian and European vessels that can in a single day capture, process and freeze 200-250 tons of fish.
“This corresponds to the fish consumption by at least 9,000 Senegalese during a full year,” according to Monsembula.
Greenpeace has, for the last 18 months, called for the cancellation of the licences and less than a month ago, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was patrolling the waters of Senegal and Mauritania to put the spotlight on the systematic plunder of West African waters by foreign vessels.
Most of the trawlers encountered by the Arctic Sunrise were European vessels or in some way linked to Europe.
On 27 April, EU Fisheries ministers got together in Luxemburg to discuss the reform of EU fishing rules, known as the common fisheries policy (CFP), but failed to take necessary steps to tackle the excessive fleet capacity of the European fishing fleet.
Greenpeace urges the government of Senegal to declare an emergency moratorium on the allocation of fishing licences, as a sustainable policy has not yet been defined.
Greenpeace also calls on European governments and fisheries ministers to support a new Common Fisheries Policy that tackles Europe’s bloated fleet by scrapping the most destructive and oversized vessels, including factory trawlers operating in the waters of developing countries.