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Senegal’s fishing transparency effort unveils tensions and oversight concerns

Wednesday, 08 May 2024 15:07
Senegal’s fishing transparency effort unveils tensions and oversight concerns

(Ecofin Agency) - Senegal, the second-largest fish producer in West Africa after Nigeria, is grappling with tensions surrounding the exploitation of its marine resources, particularly between local stakeholders and foreign operators.

Senegal’s Ministry of Fisheries, Maritime Infrastructure, and Port Facilities recently disclosed a list of authorized vessels for fishing in the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The list includes 19 foreign vessels, 132 national vessels, and over 17,400 artisanal canoes, excluding vessels with pending renewals. This move, aimed at promoting transparency in the management of national resources, has drawn both praise and questions from environmental organizations and fishing groups.

However, concerns arise as observers note the lack of clarity regarding the ownership of national vessels. Investigations in recent years have revealed that many vessels registered as Senegalese are, in reality, owned by foreign operators seeking to safeguard their interests amid ongoing tensions.

Over the decades, access agreements to Senegalese waters have become a contentious issue, with foreign fleets accused of overexploiting small pelagic fish, a practice criticized by local fishermen and environmental groups like Greenpeace. Criticisms also target the trawling practices of certain Chinese and European vessels, leading to reduced resources for artisanal fishermen and a decline in fish availability in local markets, crucial for the 70% of the population reliant on fish for animal protein.

President Bassirou Diomaye Faye's pledge to reassess fishing agreements highlights the upcoming challenge of managing the expiration of the current protocol with the European Union in November, a critical task in Senegal's efforts to regulate its fisheries sector. It is worth noting that the fishing industry contributes 3% to Senegal's GDP and employs 600,000 individuals.

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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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