In West Africa fish stocks are shrinking due to problems such as overfishing and climate change. In the absence of effective, integrated management the region is dealing with significant levels of illegal fishing and an influx of uncontrolled fishing fleets from all over the world, predominantly originating from countries and regions such as China, Russia and Europe. This puts huge pressure on fish stocks in West Africa, which are essential to feed the local population. Greenpeace is working to achieve a structural solution for the fisheries crisis in the region, by emphasizing the need for sustainable regional fisheries management and promoting cooperation between governments.

In spring 2017 the Greenpeace ship Esperanza patrolled in the region together with West African authorities. For 72 days research was carried out into the situation at sea. From Cape Verde the route went past the capital cities of Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal. A number of boats were found to be carrying illegal fishing nets, shark fins or varieties of fish that the fishermen did not have permits to catch. In cooperation with authorities in four countries, checks were carried out on 37 boats. Illegal practices and abuses were identified on thirteen boats and the crew of eleven boats were arrested on the spot and sent into port.

credits: Clément Tardif

Healthy fish stocks are essential to a balanced ecosystem and a prosperous future for the local communities and the people living along the West African coastline. Greenpeace helps West African governments to take responsibility to combat overfishing and deal more effectively with illegal fishing. This helps to ensure proper controls of both foreign and local fisheries and a fairer, more sustainable distribution of resources.

The Esperanza boat patrol in West Africa is an important part of Greenpeace’s Hope in West Africa campaign. Adessium Foundation helped to fund this campaign.

About this partner

Greenpeace is an international environmental organization working to achieve clean energy, healthy forests, living oceans and sustainable agriculture. Through research, lobbying, legal proceedings, campaigns and activities Greenpeace ensures environmental problems are high on the political and social agenda. One of Greenpeace’s international campaigns is the Hope in West Africa campaign.

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