African fishermen and Greenpeace win better international fishing practices, 2011-2012

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Timing
Time Period:  
February
2011
to
September
2012
Location and Goals
Country: 
Senegal
Country: 
Mozambique
Country: 
Mauritania
Location City/State/Province: 
Dakar, Senegal
Location Description: 
fishing communities, West African waters
Goals: 
End illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; eliminate destructive fishing practices; reduce sizes and numbers of foreign fishing fleets in African waters and increase monitoring of remaining vessels; establish sustainable fishing and fish processing operations managed and financed by Africans
 

Having overfished their own fish stocks, European and other foreign countries have turned to African waters to sustain their fishing industries. At the time of this campaign, the EU had Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPA) with seven West African countries including Mauritania and Mozambique and had an FBA with Senegal that the EU discontinued in 2006. The EU also had a Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that managed the exploitation of living aquatic resources and ensured sustainable economic, environmental and social conditions. However, the CFP subsidized the Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association (PFA) and European trawlers with high and unsustainable fishing quotas that depleted African fish stocks and harmed many endangered species. Greenpeace, a global organization focused on environmental protection, worked with Senegalese, Mauritanian, and Mozambican governments to combat illegal fishing by foreign trawlers in African waters. The organization focused on ending illegal and unregulated fishing in Africa, eliminating destructive fishing methods, reducing the sizes and numbers of foreign fleets fishing in African waters, and developing a network of well-enforced marine reserves.

Greenpeace began documenting illegal fishing in Africa in 2001 and 2006. From 24 February and 1 April 2010, Greenpeace sent one of their ships, the “Arctic Sunrise,” to Mauritania and Senegal and found 93 foreign fishing vessels, 61 of which were from the EU.

In February 2011, Senegalese fishermen went on strike to protest overfishing by foreign vessels. Actions that occurred prior to the February strike are unknown.

On 5 April 2011, Greenpeace launched the African Voices Tour, sending nine fishing community representatives and Greenpeace representatives to Europe to speak with European politicians and convince them to change the EU’s policy on fishing in African seas. Planning the tour to coincide with the revision of the CFP, Greenpeace demanded that EU external fleets have same regulations as domestic ones and seafood imports should meet environmental and social standards.

Senegalese fishermen conducted a one-day strike on 21 April to protest the Drakar (capital of Senegal) government’s decision to allow foreign boats to fish off the coast of Senegal. The government had issued 22 licenses to trawlers from Belize, Comoro Islands, Mauritius, Russia, and Ukraine, allowing trawlers from those countries to fish for sardines and horse mackerel despite Senegal’s already overfished marine resources and the country’s dependence on fishing as its main source of income.

In May and June, Greenpeace continued to call on the EU to change their fishing policies. It then turned to the Senegalese government, urging it to reinstate its annual two-month moratorium on commercial fishing. The national industrial lobby also pressured the Maritime Economy minister Kouraichi Thiam.

No information was found on developments between July 2011 and January 2012.

From January 14 to 19, 2012, just weeks before the presidential election, Greenpeace and Senegalese fishermen launched the “My Voice, My Future” caravan to tour main fishing communities and gather 3000 petitions calling for the government to reform legislation and establish sustainable fishing policies. During the week, over 6000 representatives from the fishing communities symbolically placed their handprints on a banner reading “Your voice counts, make it heard now.” The fishermen demanded transparency, good governance of the fishing sector, an end to authorizing foreign fishing vessels, and support for local fisheries. They also called for a network of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) to prohibit fishing and allow the restoration of fish stocks.

Fishermen in Dakar turned violent on January 29 when the Constitutional Court announced that the incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade would run for the third time in the upcoming elections. Thousands stormed the streets and clashed with police. One person died. Greenpeace denounced the violent outbreak.

Greenpeace protested against the Russian trawler “Vasili Lozovski” on February 15 by carrying a banner saying “Stop fishing away Africa’s future.” Greenpeace used the same tactic in protesting a Lithuanian trawler five days later.

On February 16, Senegalese fishermen welcomed the arrival of Greenpeace’s ship “Arctic Sunrise.” Greenpeace used this ship to document and expose overexploitation of marine resources and increase global awareness that Africa was feeding foreign countries at the expense of its own development and sustainability.

Greenpeace continued protesting individual trawlers on February 24 and March 2 when they painted “Pillage and Plunder” on the side of the Russian trawler “Oleg Naydenov” that was illegally fishing in Senegal and placed a banner reading “stop EU-subsidized plunder” on the side of a PFA trawler “Maartje Theadora” to protest European overfishing in Mauritanian waters.

Mack Sall, the new president of Senegal was elected on March 25. He pledged to review the conditions for authorizing fishing licenses and to fight against marine resource piracy in his April 4 speech.

On 3 May 2012, the Senegalese government canceled licenses for 29 foreign trawlers. Greenpeace continued to call for a moratorium on fishing license distribution and for the EU to support a new CFP that would reduce fishing fleet sizes and numbers.

From September 10 to 24, Greenpeace’s ship “Rainbow Warrior” worked with the Mozambican Ministry of Fisheries to patrol waters and inspect foreign ships. One Japanese fleet that was inspected refused to allow officials to weigh shark fins found on board.

Senegalese fishermen have since seen an increase in their catches. However, Greenpeace continues to struggle for the development of a network of marine reserves and sustainable fishing and fish processing operations managed and financed by Africans.

Research Notes
Sources: 
Flanagan, Eileen. "For African environmentalists, time to get beyond polar bears." Waging Nonviolence, 22 Aug 2012. Web. <http://www.greenpeace.nl/Global/nederland/2012/publicaties/Ocean%20Inquirer_3.pdf>.

"What we do: Defending our oceans." Greenpeace Africa. nd. Web. 30. Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/campaigns/Defending-Our-Oceans-Hub/>.

"How Africa is Feeding Europe: EU(over)fishing in Africa." Greenpeace. March 2010. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/Global/international/publications/oceans/2010/351%20-%20WestAfricaReportDEF-LR.pdf>.

"The Price of Plunder." Ocean Inquirer, Issue 3, Feb 2012. Web. <http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.greenpeace.nl%2FGlobal%2Fnederland%2F2012%2Fpublicaties%2FOcean%2520Inquirer_3.pdf&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFd9U39rXWuS35S997tnM320MueMQ>.

"Greenpeace calls for solutions to Fishermen's Plight." Greenpeace Africa. 8 Feb. 2011. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Press-releases/Greenpeace-calls-for-solutions-to-Fishermens-Plight/#addcomment>.

"African Voices Tour: Letting African Fishermen Speak Out About EU Overfishing." Greenpeace Africa. 5 April 2011. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/news/African-Voices-Tour/>.

"Senegalese fishermen strike to protest at foreign boats." Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Africa. 21 April 2011. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.rnw.nl/africa/bulletin/senegalese-fishermen-strike-protest-foreign-boats>.

"Give Thiof a Chance: Fisheries recovery period slashed in Senegal." Greenpeace Africa. 21 Sep. 2011. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Press-releases/GIVE-THIOF-A-CHANCE--says-Greenpeace/>.

"Greenpeace and ocal Fishermen Call for Sustainable Fisheries Management in Senegal." Greenpeace Africa. 14 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Press-releases/Greenpeace-and-Local-Fishermen-Call-for-Sustainable-Fisheries-Management-in-Senegal/>.

"Over 6,000 Senegalese fishermen challenge politicians to put communities first." Greenpeace Africa. 19 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Press-releases/Over-6000-Senegalese-fishermen-challenge-politicians-to-put-communities-first/>.

"Our Statement on the clashes in Senegal." Greenpeace Africa. 30 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Press-releases/Our-Statement-on-the-clashes-in-Senegal/>.

"Greenpeace and Senegalese fishermen unite to tackle overfishing." Greenpeace Africa. 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/Greenpeace-and-Senegalese-fishermen-unite-to-tackle-overfishing/>.

"Greenpeace exposes another foreign trawler in Senegalese waters." Greenpeace. 20 Feb. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Press-releases/Greenpeace-exposes-another-foreign-trawler-in-Senegalese-waters/>.

"Exposed: Illegal Fishing in West African Seas." Greenpeace Africa. 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/news/Exposed-Illegal-Fishing-in-West-African-Seas/>.

"Senegal's new president says No! to the plunder of Africa's waters." Greenpeace Africa. 4 Apr. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/Blog/senegals-new-president-says-no-to-the-plunder/blog/39863/>.

"Greenpeace welcomes cancellation of fishing authorizations." Greenpeace Africa. 3 May 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Press-releases/Greenpeace-welcomes-cancellation-of-fishing-authorizations/>.

"Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior ends two weeks of joint fisheries surveillance with Mozambique government." 24 Sep. 2012. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. <http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Greenpeace-ship-Rainbow-Warrior-ends-two-weeks-of-joint-fisheries-surveillance-with-Mozambique-government/>.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Iris Fang, 30/09/2012