Senegal - Local fisheries group in Senegal decries influx of Chinese trawlers

A wave of new licenses allowing Chinese vessels into Senegalese waters will “annihilate” the country’s efforts to get its fisheries on a sustainable footing, according to a group representing local small-scale fishermen.

The Senegalese organization Groupement des Armateurs et Industriels de la Pêche au Senegal (GAIPES) is fighting a campaign to block the licensing of 53 trawlers – most of them Chinese-owned – from gaining rights to fish inside of Senegal’s exclusive economic zone.

Alassane Dieng, head of the group, which represents local fishing interests, said the potential licensing of a large number of vessels with foreign affiliations will harm projects aimed at restoring resources, such as newly implemented management plans and artificial reefs. Dieng said the vessels represent a threat to protected fishing areas and sustainable fishing practices, pointing to violations of local laws attributed to foreign-owned vessels fishing in African waters.

Dieng told SeafoodSource his organization is seeking to assemble a coalition at home and internationally “to protect local artisanal and industrial resources, ecosystems and fishermen, for the benefit of the Senegalese populations of present and future generations, particularly in these times of pandemic and in the aftermath of COVID-19.”

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