Monday, July 18, 2016

Western Africa's Missing Fish

London-based Overseas Development Institute published in June 2016 a report titled "Western Africa's Missing Fish: The Impacts of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Under-Reporting Catches by Foreign Fleets" by Alfonso Daniels, Miren Gutierrez, Gonzalo Fanjul, Arantxa Guerena, Ishbel Matheson, and Kevin Watkins.

The report concludes that overfishing in the world's oceans has reached catastrophic levels. Many major fish stocks are in decline. Some species are being pushed towards extinction. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is heavily implicated in overfishing. As much as one fifth of the world's fisheries catch may originate from IUU activity. Western Africa is at the epicenter of the tragedy. About 84 percent of the fish exported from western Africa leave the region in large refrigerated containers. China has the world's largest refrigerated fleet followed by Japan, Spain, South Korea, Russia, and Taiwan. The catches of the Chinese distant-water fleets are almost completely undocumented and unreported.

Bloomberg published on 18 July 2016 a short article titled "Cameroon Impounds Chinese-manned Vessel for Illegal Fishing" by Divine Ntaryike Jr. The article underscores the nature of the problem.

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