Senevisa fish processing plant in Dakar processes cuttlefish brought in from artisanal fishermen. The local market consumes only three percent of the production of this plant. The prime fish and cuttlefish leave this plant in Styrofoam fresh packs at 5pm in Dakar and are at the Paris Orly airport at 6am.
Fish follows the money – If the Japanese pay the most for cuttlefish then it is shipped there overnight. Senevisa is the largest trawler/fish exporter working out of Senegal. It is an honest company trying to do a good business. They pay fair prices for the fish from the artisanal fishermen and ship overnight to Paris or freeze and send in containers by boat. They opened up their entire operation to me… the captains showed me their log books, told me how much it cost to operate a factory trawler (about 2000 euros a day), told me how much they could make in a day (about 3000 euros a day). But the problem is that this nutrient rich upwelling off the Senegalese coast that brings in so many fish from the Atlantic ocean is being exploited by so many people for so much protein, that it cannot last. And it affects so much of the ecosystem because there is a disproportionate amount of fish available in this area. It is like the last of the great plains of Buffalo. If the Japanese came to our wild west and slaughter tons and tons of buffalo and then shipped it overseas-even employed our people to help them in the slaughter, it would be a similar situation to what is happening in the ocean off the Senegalese coast today.