There are nearly 500 dead and thousands of survivors on the high seas among young Senegalese who, risking their lives, have been trying to reach Europe in recent months. A human tragedy that has captured the attention of the world’s media. While the fishing sector is going through an unprecedented crisis, the Senegalese authorities have just renewed their fishing agreement with the European Union (EU).
What a paradox! At the same time that the EU begins to repatriate Senegalese migrants, it continues to exploit the country’s fishery resources, the scarcity of which is in part the cause of the despair of thousands of young Senegalese.
Greenpeace Africa asks the EU and Senegal authorities to look into the real causes of this phenomenon in order to find a definitive solution rather than allowing the situation to worsen by signing this agreement.
According to the press release from the European Union delegation in Dakar, this new fishing agreement will allow 45 European vessels to fish at least 10,000 tonnes of tuna and 1,750 tonnes of black hake per year for a financial contribution of 15 million euros. euros (10 billion FCFA) over five years.
It is now evident that the mismanagement of fishery resources in Senegal, the agreements signed and the fishing licenses granted to foreign vessels are largely the scarcity of these resources. Since 2014, Senegal and the EU had established a fisheries agreement on tuna and hake fisheries including by-catches, which agreement was criticized by Senegal’s professional fishing organizations, because it does not take into account either the exploitable potential or the state of exploitation of resources.
The evaluation of this agreement, both technically (quantity of fish taken by EU vessels) and financially, has never been shared with professional organizations. This is contrary to regulatory provisions and other State commitments which make the involvement of actors in decision-making processes an important element of good governance of resources. The Sustainable Development Goals, the Fisheries Code and the Constitution of Senegal are, among other things, clear on the need to integrate fisheries stakeholders in decision-making. But the reality is quite different.
Greenpeace Africa asks the State of Senegal and the European Union to make a comprehensive and transparent assessment of the previous agreement, to update scientific data on fish stocks and to share this information with fisheries stakeholders for decision-making in accordance with the commitments made.
The guiding principle for signing a fisheries agreement should be based at least on two points, namely the state of the fishery resources concerned by the agreement and the capacity of the national fleet to exploit these resources. A fishing agreement must be signed on the basis of the surplus production which corresponds to the halieutic potential of a stock that the national fleet is not able to fish.
A fisheries agreement cannot be described as sustainable in the absence of surplus production. The EU should ensure that the government of Senegal has properly assessed the stocks affected by this fishing agreement and that there is indeed a surplus of production which the Senegalese fleet is not able to exploit. . And beyond these technical aspects, the economic and social dimension should be taken into account, especially since the fishing sector is going through an unprecedented crisis. It is only under these conditions that the transparency and protection of resources claimed by the authorities of the EU and Senegal would be a reality.
Greenpeace Africa invites the State of Senegal to freeze this fishing agreement, to make a transparent assessment of the previous agreement, to share information with stakeholders and to take into account the situation of stocks, the overcapacity of the national fleet. and the desperation of fishermen before making a decision. The market logic that motivates the European Union and the bad decisions of the Senegalese authorities will have serious consequences not only for the Senegalese but also for the Europeans, because their destinies are closely linked.