Greenpeace activists board an illegal cargo vessel full of fish taken from Guinean waters in 2006. Photo: Greenpeace
How pirate fishing fuels human exodus from Africa to Europe
19th October, 2010
Illegal fishing to feed European demand for seafood is devastating coastal communities in The Gambia and across West Africa - forcing many people to leave their homeland and make a perilous and sometimes deadly voyage to Europe
Fishing by traditional methods is vital to The Gambia. It provides one of its main exports and is a major source of employment. According to the UN, the livelihood of over a third of all Gambians is linked to fishing. It is also crucial to the health of many of its 1,688,359 people, providing a source of much needed protein, minerals and vitamins.
Unfortunately, the fish stocks along the 80 km coast of this poor and densely packed country are dwindling and life for both the full-time and the part-time fisherman is getting harder.
Like many other communities based around the African coast, Gambian fishing communities are being adversely affected by the foreign-owned fishing fleets working offshore. The local fishermen claim that immature locally important species are caught unintentionally by foreign fleets and discarded as ‘trash fish’ or ‘by-catch’.
Factory trawlers operating within The Gambia’s 12-mile exclusion zone are said to be decimating fish stocks. Greenpeace estimates that sub-Saharan Africa loses US$1 billion dollars every year due to the activities of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing (or pirate fishing). According to Brian O'Riordan, the...
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