Illegal fishing: what possible future for West Africa?

West African waters, rich in fishery resources, are currently the target of organized ocean floor pillaging, an activity which endangers the nutritional security of populations in the sub-region for whom nutritional balance greatly depends on the products of fishing. Many foreign ships, generally European or Asian, fish in West African Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) without authorization and without any consideration for the marine flora and fauna, thereby adding to the already serious overexploitation of the marine zone. Illegal fishing is more prevalent in West African waters than anywhere else in the world, representing an annual economic loss for the sub-region estimated between 828 million and 1,6 billion US dollars. In order to confront this issue, governments and organizations both local and international are working to improve national legislation and surveillance systems while reinforcing regional cooperation.

Crédit photo : pêcheurs au large de Port Loko en Sierra Leone (source: Environmental Justice Foundation)