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Senegal's fishing community will act on foreign fleets if government doesn't by John Vidal April 02,2012   |  Source: guardian.co.uk

Abdoulaye Gueye cannot see any Chinese, Russian or European trawlers as he lands his meagre catch of sardinellas and mackerel into waiting horse-drawn carts on the beach at Joal. But he knows there are 30 or more of them just over the horizon, hoovering up the fish he cannot reach.

A decade ago he could catch enough in a three-day trip to fill his 30ft-long wooden pirogue; today, he and his colleagues say they are lucky to earn enough to pay the diesel for their vessels. They are angry at what is happening to their fishing grounds and are demanding change from the new government.

Now, in a move aimed to put pressure on the developed countries to curb their fleets, community leaders in Joal and across Senegal have warned that overfishing by foreign fleets could lead to piracy and violence on the scale of Somalia, as well as a flood of economic migrants leaving west Africa to find work in Europe.

"Catches are 75% down on 10 years ago," said Samb Ibrahim, manager of Joal's fishing port. "In 2004 we landed 220,000 tonnes, now we catch only 120,000 tonnes year. It's a very serious situation." The port is the biggest in the country, with 1,500 fishermen competing to land declining catches.

"At this rate, in 10 years time there will be no fish left. So, unless something

 

© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited

Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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