Date: Thursday, 08 June 2017
Criminality in Africa’s Fishing Industry: A Threat to Human Security
June 8, 2017
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.)
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......................
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