Illegal Fishing: West Africa Confiscates 7 Chinese Vessels For Massive Fish Theft

According to Greenpeace,West African countries have detained 7 Chinese vessels for fishing illegally on their coasts.

Greenpeace is an internationally recognized non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over 40 countries and a coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Report says that inspectors from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau boarded the ships off their coasts to discover that the owners of the vessels were violating fishing regulations.

The inspectors found that they were using unauthorized nets with small holes for fishing. The regulation disapproves such nets but the defiant trawler owners use them for mischievous reasons. Nets with small holes will help catch bigger quantities of fish.

See Also: 24 African Countries Prohibit China From Encroaching On Their Fisheries

They also found that the culprits were catching protected fish species.

Illegal fishing in West Africa is becoming a common crime that may never go away especially if nothing is done to prevent it.

For 2 months, Greenpeace has been conducting regional supervision with some inspectors from West Africa. Their mission is to support West Africa in fighting and ensuring the abolishing of illegal fishing on their coasts.

Greenpeace is an organization that dedicates its services to the nurturing of “life in all its diversities”. It participates in global eco-issues such as “climate change, deforestation, over-fishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues”, according to Wikipedia.

While patrolling with the West African inspectors as a way of supplementing national efforts against illegal fishing, Reuters says:

“The Esperanza(Greenpeace Ship) patrol found 11 vessels in breach of regulations out of 37 stopped, and reported the breaches to local authorities, who towed them back to port.”

The report later confirmed that the Esperanza patrol found 7 vessels in breach of regulations. These vessels are believed to be owned by China.

China’s illegal fishing in West Africa has lingered for years. On that note the Chinese  Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang condemned the act and encouraged Chinese firms involved to abide by the stipulated fishing regulations.

Also discovered was a European ship which contained shark fins.

See Also: Is China Still Stealing Fish From Africa?

Reuters says the EU official in Dakar has not commented on the discovery. However it notes that the EU has been in mutual partnership with West Africa.

“The EU, which imports around 874 million euros ($954 million) of fish products each year from West Africa, is subject to fishing quotas and pays compensation to local governments. It has also provided funding to crack down on illegal fishing.”

Greenpeace’s Pavel Klinckhamers expressed shock over their discovery.

“This is a surprisingly high amount of arrests, especially considering that the vessels knew about our patrols in advance,” 

The inspectors made a report to the local authorities and the trawlers were then towed back to the port.

Andre Loua, Guinea’s fishing minister confirmed the confiscation of some vessels on the West African coast. He also mentioned that insufficient funding has hindered efforts in curbing the crime.

On the other hand, Mohamed Bangura Sierra Leone Minister of Information says 3 Chinese vessels were detained and fined.

Greenpeace says that the recent incident is already under investigation.