Thursday, January 24, 2013

More pirates.......

The west African coast has been plagued for 20 years with massive international trawlers that are able to scoop up hundreds of tonnes of fish a day.

This is then exported illegally to Europe, at the expense of local fishermen who use 8m open pirogues or small flat-bottomed boats. 

The foreign trawlers, that are meant to stay outside the 12-mile limit, come in much closer at night because few west African countries have the money to monitor or police their waters.
Along with the economic losses, pirate fishing in the region severely compromises the food security and livelihoods of coastal communities. 

In Sierra Leone, fish represents nearly two-thirds of the total animal protein consumed in the country.
Anger at the activities of pirate fishing vessels is now boiling over. 

According to the report, countries like Liberia, Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea and Ghana have the highest levels of illegal fishing in the world with nearly one-third of the total catch being taken illegally.
Earlier this year Senegal cancelled the licences of 29 foreign fishing trawlers, demanding that they offload their catches in the capital Dakar before leaving its territorial waters. 

The move followed threats of direct action by the country's 52,000 small-scale inshore fishermen against the owners of foreign trawlers.
EJF is calling on the EU to tighten up its regulations, blacklist companies that have been shown to have repeatedly fished illegally and prevent illegally caught fish from entering the European seafood market.
The EU is the world's largest importer of fish. 

It has a crucial responsibility to combat illegal fishing around the world, particularly in vulnerable countries where fish is a vital source of food security, employment and income.

Today many local fishermen along the West African coast have been given mobile phones with cameras, which allow them to photograph and identify offending trawlers.

A step in the right direction however much remains to be done before this rape of the sea can be contained or stopped.

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