Illegal fishing plagues West Africa
By SeafoodSource staff
Published on 14 March, 2012
On a recent mission pursuing pirate fishermen off Sierra Leone’s coast, the head of the Fisheries Protection Unit found himself adrift on the high seas with six crew after their rented motorboat ran out of fuel.
“We started rationing the food and water,” Victor Kargbo said. With no long-range radios to seek help, they improvised a makeshift sail from a tarpaulin, but with only one day’s supply of food and water remaining, they feared the worst.
“Even if we should die in the process, we knew we had served the country well,” Kargbo said.
Their ordeal, which ended when a U.N. helicopter spotted the stranded boat after two days, underscores the huge challenge facing impoverished West African states seeking to defend their waters from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.