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Thursday, 11 October 2012

EU-accredited ships plundering African fish

Fish caught illegally off the coast of West Africa end up for sale in the European Union, according to a study by the UK-based charity Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). The 18-month study documented 252 reports of illegal pirate fishing by industrial vessels in inshore areas off the coast of Sierra Leone. Nine out of the 10 vessels, which account for the majority of the reported illegal activities, are accredited to export to the European market.
Evidence shows the EU-accredited boats went inside exclusion zones and used banned fishing equipment, among other violations. Bribes, intimidation, and the refusal to pay fines were also documented along with photos of a local fisherman beaten unconscious. The study says the industrial-sized vessels have adversely affected the coastal communities and local fishermen by “severely compromising food security, local livelihoods, the health of fish stocks and the marine environment." The European Commission, for its part, says the illegal practices, on a global scale, deprives coastal communities of up to €18 billion worth of seafood and seafood products annually. 


Source: EU Observer