Senegal: Never Again in Our Oceans!

opinion

If there was ever a scandal that needed definitive action to be taken against those responsible for it, it is the issue of fishing permits in Senegal between March 2010 and April 2012. The effects of large factory trawlers that were granted permission to plunder Senegalese waters during this time, are still being felt by local communities.

There were many warning signs seen by local artisanal fishermen, scientists, industry, and international organisations. But the government in power then had no time to answer its people while it was so busy lining its pockets.

The results of a survey conducted by Greenpeace show that fishing licenses were distributed in a "You want it? You got it!" fashion to foreign trawlers. European and Russian vessels of staggering capacity were being allowed to fish in Senegalese waters without restriction.

The tragedy of it all is that the behaviour of the Senegalese authorities at the time bordered on that of great criminals. Their actions undermined the food security and livelihoods of millions of people.

The money generated from these acts of plunder should be reinvested in priority sectors of the industry, or even repaid in full to the public treasury, but it is still not passing through the nets of the population.

The issuance of these permits was not regulated and largely exceeded the number that was said to have been allocated. Similarly, the money from these licenses is also underestimated because official, recorded rates are below what was actually paid for them. Today, no one can say exactly the immeasurable harm that the dignitaries of the former government have caused the population.

So, while the new authorities in power in Senegal promised effective governance and protection, they must ensure that the country's fishery resources are protected too, and conduct an investigation to determine responsibility for the plunder of Senegal's birthright.

With the cancellation of the authorizations granted to 29 foreign vessels, the new government has already shown the way forward and I hope, as millions of other Senegalese people do, that such crime will not happen again!

No! No! Never again!

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 Greenpeace International. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.