Maina wa Njuguna
Foreign trawlers from China 🇨🇳, Europe 🇪🇺 and Russia 🇷🇺 are humongous boats, the same size as a football field.
These massive ships are cleaning up all fish at the West African coast leaving local fishermen without work and desperate. This is unsustainable and is destroying their livelihoods.
Indigenous West African fishermen have pirogues, which are small wooden boats which have been used from time immemorial.
In Senegal, the vanishing stocks pose a threat to livelihoods and food security. About 600,000 people, almost 20 percent of the workforce, work in fishing, and fish accounts for 75 percent of the country’s animal protein intake, according to World Bank data.
A trawlers catches over 300% what ordinary Senegalese catch, i.e. a trawler will catch in one day what an ordinary Senegalese would with his pirogue in an year.
World Bank leads The Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI) is a collaborative, a global effort funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to preserve marine resources and ensure that coastal fisheries are resilient.
The Challenge Fund, a child project of the CFI Program led by the World Bank, aims to engage businesses and the financing community in support of more productive and sustainable coastal fisheries.
Many local fishermen are resulting to migrate to Europe since they can not feed their families and are being forced into destitution.
Illegal trawling is well known and there’s a thin line of how licensed trawlers are staying within the legal bounds because of complicated ways this is assessed and the lack of capacity to monitor the operations of fishing fleets.
A fisherman, Mr. Bangura expressed outrage that illegal fishing vessels operate with impunity in Sierra Leonean waters, but it is also a situation that puts African countries in a bind. African governments are so desperate for revenues that anything is better than nothing leaving African coasts vulnerable to exploitation.
“The revenue generated by these catches doesn’t make it back into state coffers,” observes Dyhia Belhabib, research associate and fisheries scientist at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
“Boats from China and Europe caught fish valued at $8.3 billion over 10 years (from 2000 – 2010) from the [West African] region. Only $0.5 billion went back into local economies.”An additional $2 billion worth of fish is “either taken out without prior consent from local governments or is never reported due to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” retorted Ms. Belhabib.Ms. Belhabib.
We ask, what is the progress as these foreign trawlers continue to wreck havoc on the African coastline?
The question remains: What are African governments doing to protect the African coastline from these foreign fishing machines wiping out fish?
COASTAL FISHERIES INITIATIVE IN in WEST AFRICA