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Senegal revokes licences of foreign fishing trawlers by John Vidal May 04,2012   |  Source: guardian.co.uk

The new government of Senegal has cancelled the licences of 29 foreign fishing trawlers, demanding that they offload their catches in the capital Dakar before leaving the west African country's territorial waters.

The dramatic move on Tuesday by fisheries minister Pape Diouf follows growing resentment at overfishing and alleged corruption of the previous government's licencing system. It is expected to defuse threats by Senegal's 52,000 small-scale inshore fishermen to take direct action against the owners of foreign trawlers.

In 2006, Senegal cancelled its licencing agreements with the heavily subsidised EU fleet in an attempt to protect its industry from foreign vessels. But dozens of giant 10,000-tonne factory ships registered in Russia, Lithuania, Morocco, Ukraine, Mauritius, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, China, Belize and elsewhere were able to acquire new licences. Using satellite technology and often working together, they have been able to take hundreds of tonnes of fish a day.

This is in stark contrast to local fishermen, whose small 30-foot "pirogues" are able to catch only a few tonnes of fish a year from waters near the shore. Because of the widespread decline in the amount of fish available – in part a knock-on effect front the industrial fishing

Theme(s): Fisheries Development and Aquaculture.

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