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In Ghana, Chinese trawlers strip fisheries using local cover by Mona Samari September 16,2019   |  Source: Marex

As women fish sellers sit on their stools in the bustling port of Elmina in Ghana, large steel basins between their legs and elegantly knotted turbans on their heads, some stare into the distance, towards a horizon that was once filled with more opportunity than it is now.

From time to time a fish seller bangs loudly on their steel, impatient for the day’s catch to be offloaded from the wooden canoes. It is a noise heard all along Africa’s former Gold Coast, a chorus that bemoans the shortage of fish in seas that have supported past generations of small-scale, traditional fishermen.

If there was once abundance here, it has gone.

West African waters are some of the most overfished in the world, with high levels of illegal and unreported fishing. Foreign-flagged vessels from big fleets, including those of the EU and China, are encroaching on traditional fishing grounds. The socioeconomic and ecological costs for local populations are huge and scientists warn of an imminent collapse in West African fish stocks if measures are not taken to curb overfishing.

In Ghana, as many as 100 trawlers are targeting the same fish that artisanal fishermen have been catching for generations. But they’re also targeting juvenile fish, meaning populations cannot recover. In other

 

© 2019 The Maritime Executive, LLC

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

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