24 October 2018

Gambia: 226 Fishermen Die, Others Missing in 2years Sub Regional Authorities Urged to Strengthen Marine Control Mechanisms

Green Peace Africa an International Organization has disclosed that over the past 2 years, at least 226 fishermen have lost their lives at sea or have been declared missing.

This organization confirmed this through their new documentary released on Tuesday 23 October 2018, on the numerous cases of small-scale fishermen who have lost their lives in Senegalese waters.

Due to the high loss of lives at sea by Fishermen, the Organization however through a Press release has once again called on the sub-region's political authorities to increase the safety of artisanal fishermen more especially in Senegal. This in their release stated should be done by strengthening the control and monitoring mechanisms in their waters and to establish a regionally-integrated marine resource management approach for the benefit of their people.

The release discloses that "The 10-minute long film entitled "Voices of the Disappeared" is a collection of accounts by fathers and mothers whose sons or husbands lost their lives while fishing", adding that these stories are complemented by previously unseen photos that detail the difficult reality of the parents of the fallen fishermen whose bodies, for the most part, remain unrecovered.

It stated that, in the documentary which was filmed in Mbour, Thiaroye, and Rufisque-Arafat various regions in Senegal, "we can clearly see pictures of the artisanal fishermen lost at sea and of their parents".

The statement went on to say that, "We hear the moving stories told by the families of the courageous fishermen who risked and lost their lives at sea, and whose only mistake was the desire to make a dignified living through their work".

According to the release the latest report published by the Directorate for the Monitoring and Protection of Senegalese Fisheries (DPSP) shows that in 2017, 92 accidents resulting in 140 deaths, mostly of artisanal fishermen, were recorded.

This was a 63% increase from the previous year's report, with material damages estimated at 140,080,500 CFA francs.

According to Dr. Ibrahima Cissé, Greenpeace Africa's Senior Oceans Campaigner, "For several decades, artisanal Senegalese fishermen were able to provide for their families and communities thanks to the abundance and variety of the marine resources in Senegalese waters. He added that due to inadequate fishing policies, industrial overfishing, and bad fishing practices, the situation has changed significantly.

These fishermen he said must now venture further and further out to sea while risking their lives, just to catch fish which has now become scarce.

In addition to providing fishermen with life jackets, he advised that the Senegalese government must work to identify all the active artisanal fishermen in Senegal and put in place effective tools that can enable the detection of artisanal boats, "wherever they are at sea and come to their aid when need be," concluded Dr Cissé.

The release further states that the United Nations Organization for the food and the agriculture (FAO) in its 2018 report on fisheries, recognizes a decrease in the catch of wild fish species at sea, with 79,3 million tons in 2016 against 81,2 million tons in 2015. It added that the report further states that over-exploited species increased from 10 % in 1974 to 33 % in 2015.

The report, underscored that only 7 % of the fish species are not threatened by overfishing.

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