Ocean Shock: Fishmeal Factories Plunder Africa

NOUADHIBOU, MAURITANIA — This is part of "Ocean Shock," a Reuters series exploring climate change's impact on sea creatures and the people who depend on them.

Greyhound Bay was once a place where old ships came to die. A wild stretch of coast on the western edge of the Sahara, its shallows made a convenient, if desolate, spot to scuttle an obsolete trawler, freighter or tug. So many vessels went to their graves here, the nearby port of Nouadhibou seemed captive to a ghostly armada keeping vigil over the dunes.

Today, navigators plotting a course for this gateway to the West African nation of Mauritania have no intention of abandoning ship. Turkish fishing boats bob at anchor, laundry strung out to dry above deck. In the open sea, the convex hulls of Chinese vessels carve V-shaped wakes through the swells.

Nearer shore, nomads-turned-octopus-catchers scan the surface through the eye-slits of headgear that once shielded them from sandstorms.

But the most lucrative activity of all takes place behind high walls. It would be easy to miss entirely — were it not for the stomach-turning stench.

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