Is the European Union Stealing Africa’s Fish?

From the Ivory Coast to Guinea, from Nigeria to Angola, around 60 per cent of the fishing vessels are illegal. According to the local agencies, the prime suspects are the Chinese and the European Union. Does this illegal catch, stolen from African waters, come into the European Union through lax control centres in Spain’s Canary Islands?

An article published in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), an organism which has been endorsed by the African Union and NEPAD since 2003, quoting the Voice of America, provides a shocking suspicion that EU vessels could be literally stealing fish from African waters.

The VoA article quoted in CAADP, written by Scott Stearns, states that pirates and trawlers of all nationalities come to take advantage of Africa’s West Coast because there are not enough surveillance vessels and there is not enough money to pay for their fuel.

Jeanson Djobo Anvran, Director of the Ivory Coast Agency regulating Fishing, stated in the interview quoted in this source that it is impossible to say where the vessels come from because there are so many, but that they come at night and are so large they have some 2,000 sailors.

The article quotes “fishing industry analysts” as claiming that the fleets that take advantage of poor maritime surveillance in West Africa are “European and Asian”, which are seizing one billion USD-worth of fish a year.

While the EU states that its rules are very strict, the article claims that “environmental groups” state that there is “lax enforcement” in the Canary isles, where these huge well-equipped vessels offload their catch and mix it with legitimate ones destined for the EU market.

Let us be honest: would a huge vessel with 2,000 sailors come from…Burkina Faso? Or…



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey