Dehai News Criminality in Africa’s Fishing Industry: A Threat to Human Security

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Thursday, 08 June 2017

Criminality in Africa’s Fishing Industry: A Threat to Human Security

By André Standing

June 8, 2017

Download this Brief as a PDF

Weak accountability of Africa’s fisheries sector enables unsustainable exploitation by foreign fishing firms and undercuts the political will needed to build more robust surveillance and prosecutorial capacity.

An Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique boarding team member searches a simulated illegal fisherman during Exercise Cutlass Express 2013. (Photo: US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson.)


  • The illegal exploitation of African fisheries by foreign fishing companies deprives African governments of a highly valuable source of revenue and contributes to Africa being the only region in the world where rates of fish consumption are declining.
  • African countries must substantially upgrade their capacity to monitor and prosecute illegal fishing in African waters.
  • Weak accountability of the African fisheries sector enables the ongoing and unsustainable exploitation of this resource. Collusive relationships with foreign fishing companies often serve the financial interests of government officials responsible for overseeing the fisheries sector.
  • Leading fishing nations must step up regulation of unethical practices by their fishing vessels in order to support fair trading practices and avoid the imminent collapse of African fish stocks.

Thousands of foreign fishing vessels ply African waters every year seeking to tap the continent’s rich fish stocks. Many of these vessels are believed to be exploiting Africa’s fisheries illegally. Offenses include fishing without a license, fishing in protected areas, using banned fishing gear that is destructive to the fisheries sector, catching beyond limits, or catching protected species. Even licensed vessels regularly do not report catches as required. Those that do often underreport their actual intake.

A Greenpeace investigation found that Chinese fishing vessels operating in West Africa misreport the size of their vessels by as much as 60 percent. This practice enables fishing companies to dramatically increase their catches while fishing in areas reserved for smaller vessels. In Guinea-Bissau, foreign fishing vessels are known to collude with small-scale African fishers to access waters reserved for artisanal fishing. The small-scale fishers catch and then simply unload the fish onto the main “mothership” without the larger, foreign-owned vessel ever requiring a fishing license......................

............Continue to read the Documment in PDF Attachment below

Berhane Habtemariam


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