I’ve previously written about how the effects of the EU fishing policy is affecting local UK fishermen. But what about the rest of the world? Well the decimation of fish stocks is not only an EU problem. Now EU fishing vessels are helping to destroy fish stocks all around the world, and particular in Africa, with calamitous consequence for local fishermen and communities.
“The European fleet is unfairly competing with local fishermen. It would take 56 traditional fishing pirogues one year to catch as much fish as one super-trawler can capture and process in a single day”.
How is this sustainable? It’s not. The impending collapse of EU fish stocks are proof of this. The European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki explains why the current “crisis” is unsustainable and “unethical”.
Listen to the radio interview: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9536000/9536832.stm
And that’s the “legal” fishing operation. I say “legal” because these “arrangements” with local governments are hardly fair, are not sustainable and have little or no benefit for local fishing communities. I think we can all read between the lines here…
What about the illegal fishing? There is a massive pirate fishing operation happening. I remember as a kid growing up on the coast in South Africa, seeing foreign trawlers pounding (and in the process destroying) the reefs off our coast before dashing off to International waters before the navy could intervene.
Today South Africa is able to protect it’s oceans more effectively. However most African countries do not have the resources to patrol their waters affectively. More established countries take advantage of this and steal their resources, resources needed to feed people. They taking from the mouths that need it most because they’ve destroyed their own fish stocks.
Al Jazeera did an in-depth investigation into pirate fishing and you can see the proof in the documentary.
What this all means in plain English is that in the very near future, the fishing industry will collapse. The means thousands loosing their livelihoods and the millions who rely on this important protein source going hungry.
But we don’t have to wait to see the result of this overfishing in African waters, it’s already taking it’s toll.
“Small-scale fishermen were once able to easily catch enough to feed their families and sell extra at local markets. These days they are forced to extremes to feed their families, often risking their lives to make the smallest of catches.”
It’s in our hands to change this. Here are some ways you can easily make a difference
- Add Your Voice to Our Call for Fairer Fishing: http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/getinvolved/Stop-EU-Plunder-of-Africas-Oceans/
- If you live in Europe, this is critical, the need to fix “The Common Fisheries Policy”: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/sosaction
- Support Marine Reserves: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/conservation/marine/protected_areas/
- Choose fish caught using sustainable fishing practices: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/ oceans/what-you-can-do/better-buys-what-fish-can-I-eat
- The Human Costs of Foreign Plunder – How foreign fishing is devastating local communities http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/news/The-Human-Costs-of-Foreign-Fishing/
- The Price of Plunder – How European taxpayers are subsidising factory trawlers to strip fish from West Africa’s waters: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/Publications/2012/The-Price-of-Plunder/
- Fixing fairness in fisheries starts at home: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/oceans/fixing-fairness-fisheries-starts-home-20120329
- Tackling fleet overcapacity – policy briefing: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/Publications/2012/tackling-fleet-overcapacity/
- What were the oceans like before over-fishing? – http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jun/03/fish-stocks-information-beautiful
- The Next Collapsing Industry: Fishing - http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/10/the-next-collap/