Global Fish Crisis | Still Waters, National Geographic Magazine: European Union Trawler Ship in Senegalese Waters

EU Factory Trawler with Workers from Senegal

600,000 Senegalese participate in the fishing industry.  When you multiply that number times the 6 or 7 kids, you can see that this is a significant percentage of the 12 million Senegalese.  Artisanal fishermen catch eighty percent of the fish in this area. It’s the nation’s top foreign exchange earner, bringing in 350 million dollars a year.

The captain of this trawler is Francisco Lopez Rodriguez. Francisco worked in Newfoundland before the cod were all fished out.  His factory trawler flies a Senegalese flag and can hold 140 tons of fish/Octopus. They usually fill the boat in about 21 days at sea.  The trawler holds 250,000 liters of gasoil and goes thru about 3,000 liters a day.  The ship is about 38 meters long.  Francisco says whenever he gets near an IUU Korean boat doing a bottom trawl that the ocean is dead all around him…

From Paul Salopek story, Fade to Blue:

Foreign trawlers have hammered patches of coastline so hard that fish have become locally scarce–a blow to a nation where a million people rely on UN food aid. “It’s not worth going to sea,” says Jose Texeira da Cunha, an unemployed fisherman in Tombua, a forgotten port of crumbling stone houses and old fish meal factories corroding to rust. “You have to stay out for three days to get the same catches you once got in eight hours.” A dollar a day is the best living most fishermen can hope to wring out of the ocean, da Cunha says. Now some refugees from Angola’s fishing wars are even pushing into deserted coastline, seeking more fish. On virgin beaches, they clap together raw outposts of corrugated zinc and flotsam washed up by the Atlantic. Skinny-legged, bull-chested, shouting gruffly, the men heave their plank boats through the breakers at dawn. And their wives and rag-clad children ululate and dance on the sand, wishing them luck.

In Senegal, fishers in hand-dug canoes have been plowed under by European trawlers. Indonesian gunboats now protect domestic fishermen by blasting foreign poachers out of the water. And bizarre cops-and-robbers chases have begun roiling even Antarctica’s remote seas: Last August, an Australian patrol boat pursued a sea bass pirate more than 4,000 miles across the bottom of the world. But the ultimate redoubt of the fishing wars–conflicts that northern consumers benefit from but hardly know exist–is the immensely long, untamed and vulnerable shoreline of sub-Saharan Africa. For decades, European, Russian, Japanese and Korean boats–both legal and piratical–have raked Africa’s rich continental shelves. Now China, a powerful new player in the world’s fish race, has steamed into the African battlefield.

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