Opaque fishery deals, corruption hamper African fisheries

Published on
June 27, 2018

Corruption on a national level is causing serious harm to African fisheries, according to Steve Trent, the founder and executive director of the Environmental Justice Foundation.

Speaking at SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Barcelona, Spain on 20 June, Trent said too many African nations sell fishing rights on the cheap in corrupt, opaque deals. As a result, African fisheries have faced increased pressure from industrial-sized trawlers sucking up fish offshore, squeezing supply in local waters.

Most of these “unique purpose vessels” are built and operated by Chinese companies, and while they fly the flag of Guinea, much of the fisheries products – and their value – lands in China, Trent said. 

To combat this issue, Trent called for the creation of a public registry of vessels to allow the public to “drill down into the data and follow the product.” 

Gaoussou Greye, the president of the Confédération Africaine des Organisations de Pêche artisanale (CAOPA), which represents African artisanal fisheries in the three countries of Guinea, Mauritania, and Senegal, also spoke at SeaWeb.

He said deals with fishing companies based in the European Union have the benefit of producing detailed published data, he said. 

“We don’t have any data from the deals done with Chinese and Korean companies,” Greye said.

Photo courtesy Pierre Gleizes / Greenpeace

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