90% of Fishing Vessels in W.Africa are Trawlers
The Guardian: The Environmental Justice Foundation’s (EJF) Pirate Fishing Campaign works to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated ‘pirate’ fishing operations. EJF hopes this may be achieved by ending the use of flags of convenience for fisheries vessels, closing ports of convenience, empowering grassroots organisations with video and advocacy training, and securing support for the governments of developing countries, particularly in West Africa, so that they can address pirate fishing in their own waters
To see the photo gallery and learn more click here: Illegal Fishing in Sierra Leone
Get the Facts on Illegal Fishing in Sierra Leone
- Fish represents 64% of the animal protein consumed in Sierra Leone.
- Currently 70% of the population lives below the national poverty line and 46% are undernourished.
- Pirate fishing in west Africa severely compromises livelihoods of coastal communities.
- In Sierra Leone an estimated 230,000 people are directly employed in fisheries.
- Vessels engaging in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing compromise the health of fish stocks and the marine environment.
- 90% of vessels documented by EJF in west Africa are bottom trawlers, which drag heavy trawl equipment along the seabed, resulting in damage to the bottom habitat and high levels of by-catch, including vulnerable marine life such as sharks and turtles.
- Using the evidence gathered in coastal communities, the Sierra Leone government has begun a crackdown on pirate fishing.
- EJF investigations show that many industrial fishing vessels are out of control: fishing well inside exclusion zones, attacking local fishers, refusing to pay fines, covering their identification markings, using banned fishing equipment, transhipping fish illegally at sea, refusing to stop for fisheries patrols, bribing enforcement officers, fleeing to neighbouring countries to avoid sanctions, and committing labour violations.
- In addition to fish destined for the EU market, EJF has documented increasing volumes of illegal catches that are transhipped at sea onto large refrigerated cargo vessels destined for East Asia. In one incident, EJF infiltrated an illegal transhipment in the Guinea and Sierra Leone border area, but was unable to prevent the fish from being imported into South Korea due to the lack of international co-operation and inadequate port state controls.