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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Greenpeace calls for fairer fishing agreements

Greenpeace Africa has appealed for a fairer and more sustainable fishing partnership that protects the livelihoods of West African fishing communities. The appeal was directed at fisheries ministers who are set to meet in Brussels to discuss the future fishing agreements. Almost a quarter of all fish taken by the European fishing fleet is caught outside EU waters, especially in the once rich West African waters. This figure is set to increase as European fish stocks decline due to overfishing. Since April, African fishermen from Senegal, Mauritania and Cape Verde – as part of the “African Voices” Project – have been on a Greenpeace trip to Europe to denounce the effects of EU fishing activities on their livelihoods. Over the last month, the selected fishermen have had the opportunity to express their frustration and highlight solutions to EU fishing authorities in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, France, Austria and Spain. Three weeks ago, the delegation of African fishermen met EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki to explain the challenges they and their families are facing. During this meeting, the fishermen spoke out against the abuses of overfishing in the hope that their voices ill play a part in the current reform of the EU common fisheries policy. […] Fishing in foreign waters by the EU generally takes place off the coast of developing countries. The EU fleet causes significant environmental damage and threatens the livelihoods of local fishing communities. European taxpayers contribute €158 million every year (half a million euros a year for every ship) to secure access to foreign fishing grounds for some of the world’s most destructive fishing trawlers. […] “Sustainable and fairer partnership agreements with Africa must prioritize the recovery and maintenance of marine ecosystems and fish stocks. In addition, they should be based on solid science, to allow fishing of surplus stocks, prevent overfishing, and promote effective control that allows stocks to regenerate”, said Greenpeace Africa spokesperson, Oumy Sene.