News / Africa

    African Countries Call for China to Stop Illegal Fishing

    FILE - People are pictured on a beach next to fishing canoes in Dakar, Senegal, June 21, 2013.
    FILE - People are pictured on a beach next to fishing canoes in Dakar, Senegal, June 21, 2013.

    Officials from 24 African countries met in Cameroon last month and called for China to stop illegal fishing off the West African coast. In some areas, Chinese fishermen have pushed their local counterparts back to shore, depriving them of their jobs and livelihoods.

    Former fisherman Bisso Frederick, 32, now sells sandwiches in the Cameroonian town of Limbe, on the West African coast. He says he and his colleagues were forced to abandon their jobs three years ago.

    Bisso says they have lost their jobs to Chinese fishermen who have taken over all fishing areas. He says they are very worried the government of Cameroon has allowed foreigners to do little jobs Cameroonians should have been doing.

    In a 2013 study, the international environmental group Greenpeace reported that the number of Chinese fishing boats operating in African waters soared from 13 in 1985 to 462 in 2013.

    The report said there were 114 cases of illegal fishing over an eight-year period in the waters off Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. It said the boats were operating without licenses or in prohibited areas.

    Amadi Diop, who is in charge of the program for aquaculture and fishing at the New Economic Partnership for African Development says such illegal activity is making African fish farmers poorer and destroying the environment.

    He says the $24 billion fishing generates annually in the African continent is threatened by people who are taking far more fish from African waters than can be replaced by those remaining, with the changing climate. He says the people who are suffering most are small scale, low-technology and low-capital fish farmers who contribute 46 percent of the total revenue generated against industrial maritime fishing that contributes 33 percent.

    FILE - Haddock covered in ice wait to be bought at the fish market.
    FILE - Haddock covered in ice wait to be bought at the fish market.

    Local investment

    The head of the regional commission for fishing in the Gulf of Guinea, Emile Essema, says the problem is getting worse because many African countries are not investing in their fishing sectors.

    He says the fishing sector is still neglected by many African states and that is why African heads of state are being encouraged by the African Union to dedicate resources to boost fish farming and aquaculture. He says fishing can generate riches, solve food and nutritional crisis, provide jobs for millions of unemployed youths and develop nations.

    The African Union convened a meeting in Yaounde last month to discuss the issue. Representatives called for African states to dedicate more resources to fishing and improve the lives of more than 90 million people they say are involved in "small-scale fishing activities."

    They also asked China to abolish destructive fishing practices and stop taking advantage of African countries' fishing grounds.

     

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    by: Johnny
    January 12, 2016 5:39 PM
    Typical Chinese behavior.
    Greedy and selfish people with no regard or respect for anyone or anything. They do this where ever they go and foolish countries invite them in, to their peril!
    The Chinese are avaricious and varacious, and the WORST thing the rest of the world did was make them rich and powerful. They think everything is theirs and care about nothing but themselves. Truly abominable excuses for human beings.

    by: james blacksher from: oshkosh, wi USA .
    January 10, 2016 3:29 PM
    If there was no agreement regarding the fish, China is taking advantage of african fishing waters , Do China feel they have a right to fish in african water ?

    by: Şensurat from: Turkey
    January 07, 2016 2:36 AM
    Mr. Marcus,I agree with you strongly. Couldn't be better..

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 06, 2016 6:30 PM
    Africa, do you think China is investing all that money on your continent out of the goodness of their hearts and without expecting something in return? China never gets the short end of a deal. Their factory ships will fish your waters clean. They have a lot of hungry mouths to feed back home. They also have a lot of warships to protect their fishing fleets.

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