Foreign fishing fleets deplete African fish stocks
July 18, 2007
Heavily subsidized foreign fishing fleets are depleting coastal fish stocks of poor Africa countries, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Per capita consumption of fishery products by region.
“Wealthy countries subsidize their commercial fishermen to the tune of about $30 billion a year. Their goal is to keep their fishermen on the water,” writes John W. Miller.” Such policies boost the number of working boats, increase the global catch and drive down fish prices. That makes it more difficult for fishermen in poor nations like Mauritania, who get no subsidies, to compete. The end result: African waters are losing fish stock rapidly, with ramifications both to the economies of Africa’s coastal nations and to the world’s ocean ecology. Over the past three decades, the amount of fish in West African waters has declined by up to 50%, according to Daniel Pauly, a researcher at the University of British Columbia.”
Depletion is affecting coastal communities that rely heavily on fish catch as a source of protein and as a livelihood. Nevertheless, the European Union pays for the right to fish African waters. The country of Mauritania gets more than $116 million per year from the E.U. for a license to fish its coast. China, Russia, Ukraine have also signed deals with the country.
The African fisheries sector is an important source of food and income to millions of Africans, generating more than $2.7 billion a year in annual export revenue and provided direct employment for over 10 million people. 200 million African eat fish on a regular basis.