Senegal: Government attacks Mi’kmaq in fisheries

The new power in Dakar is determined to clean up the fishing licensing process, a process plagued by influence-peddling and bribery. The Ministry of Fisheries, Maritime and Port Infrastructure has just published a list of vessels authorized to fish in the country’s exclusive economic zone. The sector is reeling, especially among those who serve as “straw men” for foreign operators.

Updating the list of vessels authorized to fish in the country’s territorial waters does not take into account “files that are being restored», Specify authorities. The list includes 19 foreign boats, 132 Senegalese boats, as well as more than 17,400 artisanal canoes.

“This law responds to the principle of transparency in the management of natural resources that constitute the national heritage,” said Fatou Diouf, Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Infrastructure.

While this first decision was welcomed by several environmental organizations and fishing groups, the approach also raises questions. According to observers, the said list remains unclear as to the identity of the national vessel owners, while various investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that most of the ships registered as Senegalese are actually owned by foreign operators who want to maintain their operations in a global context of tensions.

Agreements on access to Senegalese waters have become a sensitive issue over the decades due to overfishing of small pelagic fish by foreign fleets, regularly highlighted by local fishermen and environmental groups such as Greenpeace.

There is also criticism of the trawling practices of some Chinese and European vessels, which lead not only to reduced resources for artisanal fishermen, but also to a decrease in the availability of fish in local markets for populations that are 70% dependent on fish for livestock. protein intake.

While President Bassirou Diomaye Faye has announced a review of fisheries agreements, one of the main projects will be management until the end of the year, when the protocol valid from 2019 with the European Union expires next November.

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