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Western Africa´s Missing Fish

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Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is at the centre of a crisis of sustainability. Nowhere is that crisis more visible than in western Africa. Current rates of extraction are driving several species towards extinction while jeopardising the livelihoods of local fishing communities across Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mauritania. Drawing on a unique satellite tracking database, this report by ODI and porCausa presents new evidence of the scale and pattern of IUU fishing. It focuses on ‘reefers’ – large-scale commercial vessels receiving and freezing fish at sea – and the use of containers. It provides evidence of practices that undermine multilateral governance rules aimed at curtailing IUU fishing and promoting sustainable, legal practices. The report identifies pathways for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to move towards greater transparency and sustainable management of fisheries to prevent the irreversible depletion and possible extinction of species, and to preserve the marine ecosystems where the fishing activities take place.
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Western Africas missing sh
The impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated
fishing and under-reporting catches by foreign fleets
Alfonso Daniels, Miren Gutiérrez, Gonzalo Fanjul, Arantxa Guereña, Ishbel Matheson and Kevin Watkins
June 2016
Report
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© Overseas Development Institute 2016. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Cover photo: A U.S. Coast Guard member and a Ghanaian navy sailor inspect a fishing vessel suspected of illegal fishing, 2014. Credit: US Navy
This report was funded by the Africa Progress Panel; however the views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the Africa
Progress Panel’s official policies.
Western Africa’s missing sh 3
Abstract
Overshing in the world’s oceans is at the centre of a crisis of sustainability. Nowhere is that crisis more visible than
in western Africa. Current rates of extraction are driving several species towards extinction while jeopardising the
livelihoods of artisanal shing communities across a broad group of countries, including Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone,
Liberia and Mauritania.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) shing is at the heart of the problem. Drawing on a unique satellite tracking
database, this report presents new evidence of the scale and pattern of IUU shing. It focuses on ‘reefers’ – large-scale
commercial vessels receiving and freezing sh at sea and at port – and the use of containers. We provide evidence
of practices that compromise the effectiveness of multilateral governance rules aimed at curtailing IUU shing and
promoting sustainable, legal practices. Proposals set out in the report identify pathways for countries in sub-Saharan
Africa to greater transparency and sustainable management of sheries which avoids the irreversible depletion and
possible extinction of species, as well as the preservation of the marine ecosystem where the shing activities take place
for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the following reviewers for their valuable support, comments and feedback: David Agnew,
Standards Director of the Marine Stewardship Council (UK); Sergi Tudela, Bluen tuna expert and former head of the
Mediterranean Fisheries Programme for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); José Luis Sánchez Lizaso, Senior Lecturer
at the Department of Marine Sciences and Applied Biology of Alicante University (Spain). The following experts at
FishSpektrum had an essential role in this report: Roberto Mielgo Bregazzi (methodology and data analysis) and Daniel
Rolleri (coordination). At PorCausa (Spain), José Manuel Márquez contributed to the research in chapter 4. We are
grateful to Sergio Alvarez Leiva and Jorge Sanz at CartoDB for their impressive interactive visualisations, and Guillermo
Gutiérrez at Bunt Planet for his data supervision. We would also like to thank staff at the Africa Progress Panel, in
particular Damien Somé (Research Fellow), for their review and support of this report.
Abbreviations
AIS Automatic identication system
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone
EJF Environmental Justice Foundation
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FOC Flag of Convenience
HSVAR High Seas Fishing Vessel Authorisation Record
ICCAT International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
IMO International Maritime Organization
IUU Illegal, unreported and unregulated
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PSMA Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing
RFMO Regional sheries management organisations
ROP Regional Observer Programme
SIF Stop Illegal Fishing
UNCLOS UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
UNODC United Nations Of ce for Drugs and Crime
UVI Unique vessel identier
WWF World Wide Fund for Nature
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Western Africa’s missing sh 5
Contents
Abstract 3
Acknowledgements 4
Abbreviations and denitions 4
1. Executive summary 7
2. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) shing – global tragedy of the commons, western African crisis 10
2.1 Western Africa at heart of IUU shing 10
2.2 Weak governance, fragmented architecture and institutional loopholes 11
3. Navigating around the rules and why IUU shing matters – reefers and containers in western Africa 16
3.1 Reefers – tracking points to irregular activities 16
3.2 Transhipments – tracking points to suspicious activity 18
3.3 Containers and the sh trade 22
3.4 Undermining global sheries governance 24
4. IUU shing and development in western Africa – impacts and opportunities 26
4.1 Fisheries: a lifeline for livelihoods 26
4.2 Impacts of IUU shing on western African development 27
4.3 Fisheries in western Africa: a lost opportunity 29
4.4 Securing a sustainable sheries premium 29
5. Conclusions and recommendations 31
Annex: brief methodology 33
References 37
List of tables, gures and boxes
Tables
Table 1: The 35 reefers operating in western Africa in 2013a 17
Table 2: Las Palmas imports of frozen sh from western Africa 23
Table 3: Containerised frozen sh cargo from Walvis Bay for 2014 23
Table 4: Employees per tonne of sh caught in marine sheries 34
Table 5: Job creation estimates for western Africa 34
Figures
Figure 1: Sierra Loba’s tracks, August 2013 19
Figure 2: Nova Florida’s tracks, 5 July 2013 20
Figure 3: Nova Zeelandia’s tracks, July 2013 20
Figure 4: Western African nations’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) 33
Figure 5: Eastern Central and South Eastern Atlantic regions 33
Boxes
Box 1: What is IUU shing? 11
Box 2: Namibia ‘joint ventures’ 13
Box 3: Gaps in shing information and registration (data as of 20 July 2015) 13
Box 4: Gaps in shing information and registration (data as of 20 July 2015) 15
Box 5: Sierra King 21
Box 6: Why IUU shing is a problem for global development objectives 27
Box 7: IUU Fishing and organised crime 28
Box 8: Conicts between IUU shers and local shers 28
Box 9: Local case study – Sierra Leone’s ‘blackfaces’ 30
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Western Africa’s missing sh 7
1. Executive summary
Overshing in the world’s oceans has reached catastrophic
levels. Many major sh stocks are in decline. Some species
are being pushed towards extinction. Illegal, unreported
and unregulated (IUU) shing is heavily implicated in
overshing. As much as one fth of the world’s sheries
catch may originate from IUU activity, linking consumers
in Europe, the United States and Asia with a practice that is
fuelling a global tragedy of the commons – a tragedy that
is leading to the overexploitation of a common resource.
Western Africa is at the epicentre of the tragedy.
The region’s coastal waters include some of the world’s
most abundant shing grounds that act as a magnet
for commercial vessels that supply Europe and rapidly
growing markets in Asia. The prots generated are
substantial. However, as highlighted by the former UN
Secretary-General Ko Annan in the 2014 Africa Progress
Panel report Grain, sh, money (Africa Progress Panel,
2014), the overexploitation of West Africa’s shery
resources has produced devastating social, economic and
human consequences. The livelihoods of artisanal shing
people are being destroyed, a vital source of protein is
being lost, and opportunities for the development of
regional production and trade are disappearing. IUU
shing is heavily implicated.
Recent years have seen a renewal of international
efforts to combat overshing and IUU activities.
Strengthened regulatory frameworks have been put in
place for monitoring and reporting through Port State
Measures.1 Legislation and voluntary codes of conduct in
importing countries are creating strengthened incentives
for compliance with sustainable shery practices. These
moves are encouraging – but they are failing to tackle IUU
shing practices. Far too many governments in Europe and
in emerging markets subscribe to encouraging principles
at international meetings, but fail to enact the policies at
home.
This report identies two practices at the heart of the
disjuncture between sustainable shing principles and real
world practices.
The rst practice involves reefer vessels and
transhipments: this entails catch being loaded directly from
shing boats onto these large freezing and processing ships
at sea. Reefer activity accounts for around 16% of western
African sh exports.
Using a unique data system, we track reefers operating
in western African coastal waters. The FishSpektrum
Krakken® UVI database – a shing and sh carrier vessel
identier resource – is the world’s largest shing vessel
tracking resource. In 2013, 35 shing reefers visiting
western African waters were identied. Most were
operating under ags of convenience (FOC),2 with Vanuatu
the preferred registration site.
Tracking signals from some of the 35 vessels point
to suspicious activity. The signals were consistent with
widespread and systematic transhipment operations. Some
of this activity occurs in the Exclusive Economic Zones
(EEZs) of two countries – Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire –
where transhipment is prohibited by law.3 In other cases,
the transhipment activity appears to be unauthorised or
inadequately monitored. We provided detailed tracking
evidence for four named vessels. While there is no
suggestion on our part that the vessels in question were
carrying out IUU activities, in each case there are questions
to be answered.
The second practice identied in the report relates to
the mode of transportation for exports. We estimate that
around 84% of the sh exported from western Africa
leaves the region in large refrigerated containers. This is
part of a global pattern that has seen containers account
for a large and rising share of sheries trade. From a
governance perspective, the concern is that containers are
subject to less stringent reporting requirements.
1. Port State Measures (PSM) are requirements established or interventions undertaken by port states which a foreign shing vessel must comply with
or be subject to as a condition for use of ports within the port state. National PSM would typically include requirements related to prior notication
of port entry, use of designated ports, restrictions on port entry and landing/transhipment of sh, restrictions on supplies and services, documentation
requirements and port inspections, as well as related measures, such as IUU vessel listing, trade-related measures and sanctions.
2. A ‘ag of convenience’ refers to a vessel being registered in a different country to that of the ship’s owners. Many shipping companies prefer to y FOC so
their ships are registered in countries with less stringent enforcement regulations.
3. An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea whereby a country has special rights
regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, stretching from the baseline (normally the low-water line along the coast as marked on large-scale
charts ofcially recognised by the coastal state) out to 200 nautical miles from its coast.
While compliance with EU regulations requires shing
vessels and reefers to provide port authorities with
reasonable advance notice of an intention to unload a
catch, containers do not have to give as much notice,
which may weaken the effectiveness of port monitoring.
Moreover, it is difcult under current EU rules to establish
the scale and legality of catches originating in western
African waters, because containers are exempt from
regulations which provide for inspection of landings at EU
ports.
The consequences are not theoretical, but real. The
European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime
Affairs and Fisheries conrmed to the report authors
that, between 2012 and 2014, only 135 sh container
consignments, originating from all over the world, were
blocked because of IUU concerns. This represents a tiny
fraction of the sh entering the EU from abroad.
Ending IUU shing and developing strong national
and regional shery sectors would generate multiple
benets for development. Those benets would not occur
automatically. Governments in the region need to do
far more to develop processing sectors equipped to add
value to the sh caught in their waters, and to support
regional trade. However, with the right policies in place
we estimate that more than 300,000 new jobs could be
created, with artisanal shers linked to consumers through
a vibrant trading network. Further development benets
would derive from increased export revenue. Sustainable
management of sheries resources would also strengthen
food security, expanding supplies of protein.
We set out a range of practical policies for unlocking these
benets. Some of these policies require multilateral action
at a global level:
Establishing a global database and tracking system.
A global, centralised IUU vessel database should
be created under the auspices of the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International
Maritime Organization (IMO), with full accessibility
for national authorities. All shing vessels should also
be required to carry a unique ID registration number,
making it harder to evade detection. The vessel tracking
information we provide in this report illustrates the
possibilities. The development of a global tracking
system could be nanced through a levy on commercial
shery eets.
Closing the IUU container loophole. Container ships
carrying sh should be subject to the same scrutiny and
reporting requirements as reefers and shing vessels.
Banning blacklisted IUU vessels. Vessels blacklisted for
IUU practices, together with their owners and operators,
should be prohibited from operating and registering
new vessels. Legal authorities should act swiftly to bar
blacklisted vessels and operators from the EEZs in
which IUU activities occurred, and impose punitive nes
that generate powerful deterrent effects. In the event
that local action is not taken, legal authorities in the
jurisdiction of registration and/or substantive ownership
should take action. Interpol should be given broad
powers to prosecute and investigate IUU activities and
publish an IUU blacklist.
Establishing IUU shing as a transnational crime. This
approach, championed by Norway, would bring IUU
activities under the remit of Interpol, giving the security
agency the resources and powers necessary to investigate
and prosecute these cases.
The effectiveness of any global governance regime on
sheries for western Africa will ultimately depend on two
critical regional factors: leadership by African governments
and capacity development. Among the priorities are:
Improving transparency. African governments and their
trading partners should disclose in full the terms of
sheries agreements, including information on quotas
and prices as well as any agreed licence and charter
agreements. Additionally, declared catches should be
regularly compared with data reported to the FAO and
other agencies.
Prohibiting transhipments at sea. Western African
countries should ban transhipments at sea following the
practice of Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire within their EEZs.
Special derogations could be provided for ports that
cannot accommodate large reefers, with transhipments
allowed under closely monitored conditions near port
facilities.
Enhancing port measures. All countries in western
Africa and elsewhere should immediately ratify the
legally binding Agreement on Port State Measures to
Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing (PSMA),
aimed at strengthening the controls in ports where the
sheries catches are landed and reported, and denying
access to any vessels suspected of IUU activity. The
treaty was approved by the FAO in 2009 and came into
force on 5 June 2016, but to date Gabon, Guinea-Bissau
and South Africa are the only countries in the region to
have ratied this agreement. Globally, although the EU
and the United States have ratied the agreement, major
shing nations like China, South Korea and Russia have
yet to do so.
Building regional capacity action. The international
community should scale up aid and technical support
for western African countries. The World Bank, the
African Development Bank and the FAO should
cooperate in supporting the development of capacity to
draw on global satellite and terrestrial tracking systems.
Aid donors in the EU and emerging markets – including
China – with large regional eets should provide
support for the purchase and operation of an expanded
coastguard eet to protect EEZs. Joint patrolling
schemes could also be established, with an initial
8 ODI Repor t
Western Africa’s missing sh 9
focus on the two main ‘transhipment hubs’ in western
Africa: around Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, including
Cape Verde, Senegal and the Gambia, and another one
in the Gulf of Guinea, including Ghana, Togo, Benin
and Nigeria, as identied by the UN Ofce for Drugs
and Crime (UNODC). Additionally, western African
navies need to work more closely together to monitor
and protect their coastal waters, especially in inshore
territorial waters crucial to the communities that depend
on coastal sheries.
Strengthening regulation. Working in concert with
Interpol, the African Union should develop an IUU
blacklist for the whole continent. All governments in the
region should carefully review licensing arrangements
involving vessels registered under ags of convenience,
which are in some cases the equivalent of havens for
tax avoidance. Consideration should be given to the
imposition of a ag of convenience tax in sheries
agreements, with the revenues used to strengthen IUU
monitoring capabilities.
2. Illegal, unreported and
unregulated (IUU) shing:
western African crisis
In Africa’s coastal waters, IUU shing has reached epidemic proportions. This plunder destroys
entire coastal communities when they lose the opportunities to catch, process and trade.
Commercial trawlers that operate under ags of convenience, and unload in ports that do not
record their catch, are engaging in organised theft disguised as commerce.
Ko Annan, former UN Secretary General and Chair of the Africa Progress Panel4
There is a crisis of global governance playing out on the
world’s oceans. One of the most visible symptoms of that
crisis is the depletion of sh stocks. According to the UN
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), almost two
thirds of stocks for which information is available are fully
exploited. Another 28% are over-exploited: that is, sh are
being caught at a rate that exceeds regeneration potential
(FAO, 2014b). According to one estimate, the amount of
sh in the oceans has been halved over the past 50 years,
with some species – such as tuna and mackerel – falling by
three quarters (WWF, 2015).
At the heart of the crisis is some simple arithmetic. It
has been estimated that the capacity of the world’s shing
eet is two and a half times larger than the sustainable
extraction level for sh stocks. The resulting crisis in
sheries is a living example of a modern-day ‘crisis of the
commons’ – in other words, the tendency to undermine
long-term collective interests through short-term
overexploitation of shared resources. Tackling the crisis of
the commons requires multilateral rules and institutions
that are geared towards sustainable resource management.
This is the core aim behind Goal 14 of the 2030
Sustainable Development Goals, which calls on states ‘to
conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine
resources for sustainable development’.
Translating that commitment into practice will require
a concerted drive to reverse and then stop IUU shing. IUU
shing takes many forms. These range from catching sh
without a licence to harvesting banned species, exceeding
catch quotas and shing out of season. Governments and
the international community cannot sustainably manage
scarce marine resources in the absence of timely, accurate
and transparent information on the size of catches. Yet
IUU shing accounts for as much as one fth of the global
sheries catch, worth $10 billion to $23.5 billion annually
(Agnew, 2009). Put differently, between 11 million and 26
million tonnes of sh are extracted from the world’s oceans
without proper reporting.
IUU shing has profoundly damaging consequences.
It is contributing to the unsustainable exploitation of a
vital marine asset, eroding the oceans’ ecosystems and
jeopardising future supplies of a vital global food security
asset.
Nowhere are the costs of unsustainable resource
management more visible – or more immediate – than in
the world’s poorest countries. IUU shing is endemic in
the coastal zones of many developing countries. Marine
and coastal sh stocks provide millions of people in these
countries with a source of protein, a livelihood and an
income.
2.1 Western Africa at heart of IUU shing
Western Africa is at the epicentre of IUU activity. With its
coastline stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar to Cape
Town in South Africa, this region has some of the most
diverse and economically important shery locations in the
world. This includes the Canary Current and the Benguela
4. For Ko Annan’s launch remarks, see Africa Progress Panel (2014a).
10 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 11
Current marine ecosystems, which extend from north-west
Africa to Guinea-Bissau and from western South Africa to
Angola. These systems maintain some of the world’s richest
tuna shing grounds.
Today, western Africa’s coastal shery resources are
operating well beyond the brink of sustainable utilisation,
in part because of IUU shing. More than 50% of the
sheries resources in the stretch of coast ranging from
Senegal to Nigeria alone have already been overshed
(FAO, 2011). It has been estimated that IUU shing
accounts for between one third and half of the total
regional catch (Africa Progress Panel, 2014).
Three types of IUU shing are of special concern
for western African coastal states: unlicensed foreign
industrial vessels; shing in prohibited areas, particularly
close to shore, using illegal nets; and shing by artisanal
vessels, many of which are unlicensed and also shing
with illegal nets (MRAG, 2010: 2). Investigations by
the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) provide a
glimpse into the huge extent of the problem. Data from
Guinea-Conakry’s coastal waters found that 53 out of 104
identied vessels were either linked to, or engaged in, IUU
shing (EJF, 2009: 9). This report focuses on the activities
of foreign shing eets and the way sh is transported out
of the western African region.
IUU shing has damaging economic consequences for the
affected states. According to the Africa Progress Panel,
West Africa (dened in the report as the region lying
between Mauritania and Nigeria) is losing $1.3 billion
annually to IUU shing (Africa Progress Panel, 2014). If
the whole of the western African coastline were taken into
account those losses would be greatly magnied. As it is,
IUU shing led to:
Senegal losing around $300 million in 2012 due to IUU
shing – equivalent to 2% of gross domestic product
(GDP) (USAID, 2013);
Guinea losing $110 million a year (MRAG, 2005);
Sierra Leone losing $29 million annually due to IUU
shing – a gure that may appear modest, but which
represents around a tenth of the country’s education
budget (MRAG, 2005: 6).
Similarly, the wider social, economic, environmental and
human costs of IUU activity are increasingly evident.
Overshing by large industrial trawlers is contributing to
the collapse of artisanal shing – an activity that supports
millions of people in coastal areas. The multiplier effects of
lost revenues through the vast national and intra-regional
trading networks linking consumers to artisanal shers are
enormous (Béné et al., 2007). Fisheries are estimated to
employ, directly or indirectly, 600,000 people in Senegal
(Africa Progress Panel, 2014) and more than 160,000
in the Democratic Republic of Congo – not including
the thousands of jobs in sh processing plants in which
most workers are women (FAO, 2014: 32). As artisanal
shing shrinks, it creates pressures to migrate from coastal
communities. Meanwhile, a vital source of food is under
threat. In countries like the Gambia, Sierra Leone and
Ghana, sh provide more than 60% of the animal protein
necessary for healthy growth, and in remote coastal
communities almost all of these proteins come from sh.
As we show in this report, translating sustainable shery
principles into practice would generate wide-ranging
benets. Specically, it has the potential to create more
than 300,000 new jobs across the region, divided almost
equally between shers and processors, enabling some
90,000 women to enter the work force.
2.2 Weak governance, fragmented architecture
and institutional loopholes
The geographic scope and scale of IUU shing is
symptomatic of the wider global governance failure
that is eroding the integrity of oceanic ecosystems. The
vast patchwork of treaties, conventions and voluntary
arrangements now in place affords weak protection at best.
Globally, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
(UNCLOS) governs the rights, obligations and dispute
settlement procedures for the world’s oceans. UNCLOS
sets out the duty of countries to cooperate in the
management of shared sheries resources. It also recognises
jurisdictional boundaries of individual states set 200
nautical miles off a state’s coastline, known as Exclusive
Economic Zones (EEZs). Most of the richest sheries in
the world are located in these zones, which cover some 38
million square nautical miles.
Box 1: What is IUU shing?
IUU shing refers to any of the following activities:
Fishing in waters under the jurisdiction of a state
without permission or in violation of applicable
laws
Fishing conducted by vessels ying the ag of
states that are parties to a relevant regional
sheries management organisation, but are
operating in contravention of its conservation
and management measures
Fishing that has been unreported or misreported
to the relevant national authority or regional
authorities, in contravention of applicable laws
Fishing conducted by vessels without nationality,
ying the ag of a state not party to the regional
organisation governing the relevant shing area
or species, or shing on stocks with no applicable
conservation or management measures in place.
Note: Authors’ work, based on International MCS Network, 2014
UNCLOS also underpins the activities of the UN
agencies and bodies dealing with the oceans. Chiey, this
includes the FAO, which supports science and management
of global sheries and is a major source of statistical
information; and the International Maritime Organization
(IMO), which is largely responsible for maritime safety,
liability and compensation.
Ocean governance to prevent IUU shing is also
managed at local, national and regional levels. Regional
sheries management organisations (RFMOs)5 have been
set up to manage stocks, including highly migratory
species such as tuna that move across vast areas. Regional
bodies include the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) which is active in
western Africa, and was set up to manage and aid in the
conservation of tuna species.
Individual countries and regional groupings add to
the patchwork of rules. For example, following a 2010
regulation, the European Union only allows imports of
marine sheries products certied as legal by the competent
ag state or exporting state, bans ‘non-cooperating’
countries or IUU shing vessels and sanctions EU operators
shing illegally anywhere in the world under any ag
(European Council 2008). The UK provides detailed
guidance for British businesses, including retailers and food
suppliers, to help keep illegal sh products out of its food
supply chain (BRC and EJF, 2015). Spain, which owns
Europe’s largest shing eet, recently passed a new sheries
law which imposes strong penalties against any citizen
involved in IUU shing (EJF, 2015). In 2008, the United
States strengthened the Lacey Act, making it unlawful to
land illegally caught sh in US ports.
Despite these arrangements, IUU shing continues
to ourish. While the evidence is inevitably partial (a
consequence of the illegality of the activities), it points
unequivocally towards extensive IUU activities. For
example, the EU – the world’s largest importer of fish
products – may have imported 1.1 billion in illegal fish
products every year (European Parliament, 2014;
Sustainable Earth, 2008). Another top importer, the United
States, may have imported in 2011 between $1.7 billion
(Gravitz, 2014) and $2.1 billion of illegal wild-caught
seafood – or up to 32% of total seafood imports
(Pramoda et al., 2014). Recent years have seen renewed
momentum behind efforts to strengthen the governance of
fishing and combat IUU practices. There has been an
emphasis on improved monitoring and reporting on
catches through Port State Measures. Retailers and
processors have adopted a wide range of voluntary
sustainable seafood standards, including a requirement that
vessels have operational Automatic Identication Systems
(AIS) and IMO registration.
However, the current arrangements are unt for the
purpose of promoting sustainable management. The rules,
institutions and enforcement mechanisms now in place
are circumvented with near total impunity. Extensive
use of untracked vessels, port states failing to full their
responsibilities, ag states ignoring their obligations and
the absence of effective sanctions to penalise bad practice
all contribute to this situation.
Why is the battery of governance arrangements so
ineffective? Technology provides part of the explanation. It
is increasingly possible for shing vessels to use a wide range
of devices – such as sonar devices, airborne optical lasers
and remote sensing technologies – to identify sh stocks.
Loopholes built into the governance regime, weak
compliance and limited enforcement are also problems.
Widespread use of ags of convenience (FOCs) from
states – such as Liberia, the Bahamas and Panama – that
are unable or unwilling to enforce existing regulations
weakens the rule of law. FOC registration is cheap and
very easy to obtain. Vessels sighted at sea engaged in IUU
activities can quickly change their name and registration
– a practice known as ag-hopping – to avoid being
identied in a port, making it extremely difcult to track
down the actual owners.
Approximately 15% of the world’s large-scale shing
eet is ying FOCs or listed as ag unknown (Gianni and
Simpson, 2005). The largest ownership and management
of FOC vessels is the European Union, of which Spanish
vessels account for half, followed by Taiwan, Honduras
and Panama (Couper et al., 2015). One widespread
practice in western Africa involves companies setting up
joint ventures with local partners. This allows foreign
vessels to be re-agged as western African vessels and to
benet from special authorisations reserved to the national
eet. One example comes from Namibia (see Box 2).
Effective monitoring at ports could limit the scope for
IUU activities – but progress in this area has been modest.
In 2009, the FAO approved the Port State Measures
Agreement (PSMA) aimed at denying port entry and
services to any vessel suspected of engaging in IUU shing.
The agreement allows for dockside inspections and seizure
of illegal catch. This came into force on 5 June 2016,
as this report was being nalised, after 30 governments
ratied it. However, of these, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau and
South Africa are the only countries in the region included
in this agreement, so it is likely to have limited impact
in western African waters unless more countries agree
to be bound by it. Fish transhipment is another means
5. RFMOs are international organisations formed by countries with shing interests in an area. Some of them manage all the sh stocks found in a specic
area, while others focus on particular highly migratory species, notably tuna, throughout vast geographical areas. These organisations are open both to
countries in the region (‘coastal states’) and countries with interests in the sheries concerned. While some RFMOs have a purely advisory role, most have
management powers to set catch and shing effort limits, technical measures and control obligations.
12 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 13
of concealing IUU activities. While sh transhipments
at sea are a common and largely legal practice6, abuse is
widespread. Vessels often transfer part or all of their catch
to refrigerated cargo ships with freezer capacity known as
reefers, which in turn freeze and transport the sh to port.
When the transfers occur on an unreported basis, catch
numbers can be understated and IUU sh mixed with legal
catches, so any controls at port may come too late (EJF,
2013c).
The registration of shing vessels is critical for any
governance regimes aimed at tackling IUU shing. It
is striking, however, that there is no global register of
high seas shing vessels. To make matters worse, unlike
merchant ships, these vessels are not required to carry a
unique identication number, making it hard to track them
(GOC, 2013). Efforts to close the registration decit have
met with limited success (see Box 3).
Some states in western Africa have attempted to
legislate against transhipment. Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire
ban transhipments at sea altogether. Some monitoring
organisations – for example, ICCAT – also operate
Box 2: Namibia ‘joint ventures’
Around 10 Namibian–Spanish joint ventures
operated in 2011 from the massive Walvis Bay,
where the processing factories were so ‘high-tech’
that this port was known as the ‘Wall Street’ of
sh (García Rey and Grobler, 2011). One operator
– the China Fishery Group, a subsidiary of the
multinational Pacic Andes* – was reported to have
overpaid a new Namibian quota holder to use its
shing quota for the year, going above the price
paid by competitors. The company then covered the
extra costs by cutting salaries, prompting Namibian
trade unions to denounce it for alleged poor labour
conditions (Agritrade, 2013; Shinovene, 2012).
Note: * Pacic Andes Food Ltd is one of the largest providers
of frozen sh and sh products in the world. Its business
includes the whole chain from shing, sea-based processing,
transportation, land-based processing and distribution.
6. Transhipment is the transfer of goods from one ship to another. Fish transhipments at sea involving reefer vessels are always to load sh onto a reefer, not
to unload from the reefer. At anchor, reefers do not unload. Transferring sh at anchor, if the sea conditions are right, is the cheapest way to transfer sh,
because ships do not have to call at port, be moored and pay the port fees. Fishing vessels (with shing gear on board) do not usually call at port precisely
to avoid paying the port fees, and prefer to transfer their catch at sea.
Box 3: Gaps in shing information and registration (data as of 20 July 2015)
Many of the vessels engaged in IUU activities are unregistered. Efforts to develop a global registration regime have
met with limited success.
In 1993, the FAO created a High Seas Fishing Vessel Authorisation Record (HSVAR), requiring states to provide
information about their vessels authorised to sh on the high seas. Fifty-eight nations are party to the agreement
and 44 nations have (at least once) provided a listing of authorised vessels. Honduras and Sierra Leone have
not accepted the agreement. However, they have both voluntarily provided information in the past, according to
information provided by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO.
The Global Ocean Commission notes that, since 2013, the HSVAR has listed 2,452 vessels (out of 6,292) whose
authorisation to sh had ‘expired’, suggesting that states have not provided up to date information.
The FAO maintains another vessel register, the Vessel Finder. However, as of 2015 it contained 238,689 shing
vessels – a fraction of the more than 4 million shing vessels currently operating in the world, according to FAOs
own estimates.
Interpol, the main international law enforcement agency dealing with IUU shing, does not fare well either. It
publishes Purple Notices (PNs) when seeking information on working methods, objects, devices and concealment
methods used by criminals accused of involvement in IUU shing. The rst was published in September 2013 at the
request of Norwegian authorities for a vessel named Snake. However, only nine PNs have been issued since then.
Some private projects have attempted to reduce the registration gap, so far unsuccessfully. The Global Fishing
Watch initiative, for example, is the product of a technology partnership between SkyTruth, Oceana and Google
designed to show all trackable shing activity in the ocean. However, this interactive web tool is still in prototype
stage, and only contained some 40,000 shing vessels at the time of writing, severely limiting its usefulness to law
enforcement ofcials.
The database used for this report put together by FishSpektrum is by far the most comprehensive, with more
than 820,000 fishing units on it. The European Commission and others use it as a source for major studies. But
it remains a privately held resource and, given the scale of the problem outlined in the following pages, there is an
urgent need to develop more comprehensive and publicly available resources, in line with the latest technological
advances.
prohibitions in regional waters. However, the majority of
countries in the region still authorise sh transhipments
within their EEZs, citing as a rationale the inability of
ports to accommodate large reefers. The United Nations
Ofce for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has identied two
main ‘transhipment hubs’ in western Africa. One is located
in the Eastern Central Atlantic around Guinea and Guinea-
Bissau, including Cape Verde, Senegal and the Gambia.
The other is found in the Gulf of Guinea, including Ghana,
Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea,
Gabon and São Tomé and Principe (UNODC, 2010). In
Section 3, we draw on new data to document the activities
of reefers operating in these hubs.
Efforts to enforce anti-IUU arrangements are often
weakened by wider problems. While many countries in
western Africa require observers to be present on board
shing vessels, in some cases these observers are paid by
the vessel operators. The incentive to expose illegal trade
is accordingly limited (EJF, 2012). Corruption is another
barrier to effective action. One third of the countries in
western Africa were in the bottom quarter of Transparency
International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2014.
The consequences can be seen in the governance of the
sheries sector. In Senegal, for example, highly placed
political gures have been investigated and, in some cases,
prosecuted for selling illegal permits to foreign eets for
personal gain (Faye, 2011; Vidal, 2012). Meanwhile,
African-agged vessels, including Ghana’s commercial tuna
eet, have been implicated in IUU activities. In 2014, the
EU warned Ghana that further cases of IUU shing would
mean an end to Ghanaian sh exports (House of Ocean,
2014).
In the few cases where an IUU catch is discovered and
the owners prosecuted, nes are often too small to have a
deterrent effect. In 2011, according to the EJF, the Liberian
Coastguard arrested the Korean-agged Seta 70 at sea for
shing illegally in the area. The vessel, owned by Korean
multinational Inter-Burgo Company Ltd, was ned $36
million and legal proceedings were initiated against the
vessel’s operators. However, the vessel ended up paying only
$150,000 in an out-of-court settlement – a tiny fraction of
the value of its IUU catch (EJF, 2012).
Western African ofcials openly admit that small nes
are failing to deter vessels from continuing to engage in
IUU shing. For instance, Haidar El-Ali, Senegal’s sheries
minister, last year said: ‘Vessels we caught pay a ne and
go, but they do it again. We must be able to keep them
when we seize them, so there’s a real punishment.’ (Fessy,
2014)
Western Africa’s IUU crisis also illustrates the
debilitating effect of having a weak capacity for
implementation. As with any governance regime, sheries
are only as effective as a state’s capacity to monitor
activities in its EEZ. Elsewhere in the world, governments
have taken robust action: for example, Indonesia
(Washington Post, 2016) and Argentina (CNN, 2016) have
recently gone as far as to sink ships involved in IUU shing
in their waters. But most countries in western Africa lack
the systems needed to monitor and track the activities of
shing vessels. These are countries with long coastlines
and limited resources. Meanwhile, their marine ecosystems
and abundant stocks of high-value sh act as a magnet for
industrial shing vessels.
The FishSpektrum database highlights the acute capacity
constraints facing governments in western Africa. In 2013,
the FishSpektrum data identied more than 600 shing
vessels off the coast of western African nations that were
from China alone. Yet one of these nations – Sierra Leone
– had only two coastguard boats available to monitor
the activities of all shing vessels in its waters (Naranjo,
2014). Whatever rules are put in place, these are likely to
prove of limited effectiveness in the absence of a greatly
strengthened regional capacity for monitoring.
Information gaps and asymmetry in access to
information makes it difcult to establish the full extent
of IUU shing in western Africa. That is why investment
in monitoring is so critical. Inconsistencies between trade
data and shery quotas suggest that current estimates may
understate the scale of IUU activities, as illustrated by
evidence relating to China’s eet (see Box 2.4).
14 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 15
Box 4: The numbers game and ‘a sea of obscure agreements’
China’s western African eet has grown rapidly in recent years. In testimony to the US–China Economic and
Security Review Commission, Mallory (2012) concluded that China now owns the largest distant-water shing
eet in the world, with an estimated 1,900 vessels operating in 2010, followed by countries like Japan, Spain,
South Korea, Russia and Taiwan, although no one knows the exact number.
While there is no clear-cut evidence that this eet is more or less culpable of IUU activity than vessels from
other countries, there are various concerns.
In June 2011, a deal was signed between the Mauritanian government and China’s state shing company Poly
Hondone Pelagic Fishery Co., a subsidiary of the Poly Technologies group, one of the largest recent sheries
access agreements signed in the region. The 25-year deal involved an investment of $100 million, with the Chinese
company promising to build a sh processing factory in Noadhibo and create 2,463 jobs in exchange for shing
rights, according to a copy of the document supplied to the authors. Under the agreement, Chinese vessels would
be re-agged to Mauritania.*
Details of the shing agreement initially remained secret until it was leaked by a Mauritanian member
of parliament, according to TransparentSea, which is an initiative to promote access to information and
accountability in marine sheries (TransparentSea, 2016). Concerns over a lack of transparency regarding
the exact terms of the agreement and a lack of safeguards to protect the country’s threatened deep-sea shing
resources caused a public outcry at the time and even prompted opposition law-makers to boycott the vote in
parliament (Reuters, 2011).
Additionally, Poly Group’s vessels include bottom trawlers which are industrial shing vessels of a kind likely
to be destructive, as their nets, pulled down by heavy weights, are dragged along the bottom of the sea bed,
destroying coral, sponges and other plant and animal species.
More widely, the Mauritanian authorities conrmed to the report authors that 45 Poly Group vessels are part
of this agreement, and are allowed to catch between 80,000 and 100,000 megatonnes (Mt) of sh annually. They
insist that they were reagged, meaning that any sh they caught would be considered Mauritanian. China’s
total declared catch in the whole of western Africa for 2013 was only 4,139 Mt, according to FAO Fishstat. This
would mean that the Chinese eet is mainly shing in Mauritanian and western African waters under local ags.
Mauritania on the other hand caught 277,624 Mt of sh in 2013, according to FAO Fishstat, despite barely
having a functioning industrial shing eet.
This should not be a problem except that Chinese sheries agreements with local governments remain largely
secret, meaning that it is difcult to determine the real Chinese shing capacity and actual catches in the region
compared to other countries, and whether these are sustainable or hide illegal activities.
According to a report, prepared at the request of the European Parliament, by the European Commission’s
Directorate-General for Internal Policies, ‘activities and catches of the Chinese distant-water eets are almost
completely undocumented and unreported, and often, may actually be illegal, thus spanning the entire gamut of
IUU shing’ (Blomeyer et al, 2012).
Based on the review of several studies, Mallory (2012) concluded with reference to China that ‘sheries access
agreements on the whole have led to unsustainable use of sheries resources and have negatively impacted the
socioeconomic development of host countries’. He shows that in Guinean waters, for example, more than half of
IUU vessels identied were Chinese; in Liberia, 200 industrial vessels were observed operating despite the country
having only granted 17 shing licences; and in Liberia, Chinese vessels frequently violate the moratorium in the
three-nautical-mile artisanal zone.
All this provides further proof of the urgent need to ensure that the agreements between Chinese and other
major foreign operations with western African governments are transparent, ensuring the sustainability of the
region’s overexploited sheries.
* The Mauritanian authorities told the report authors that just 1,663 jobs have been created to date due to some delays in the imple-
mentation of the agreement, while the total investment reached $105 million by the end of 2014.
3. Navigating around the
rules and why IUU shing
matters – reefers and
containers in western Africa
The rst step towards sustainable shery resource
management is information. The development of clear and
enforceable rules on Port State Measures, vessel registration
and ags of convenience is a necessary condition for effective
governance – but it is not a sufcient condition. Governments
in western Africa and other regions need credible data on
catch volumes. In this section we identify two practices that
are systematically weakening data availability, creating an
enabling environment for IUU activities. There are concerns
that the operations of reefers and the use of containers may
be facilitating practices designed to evade reporting.
3.1 Reefers – tracking points to irregular activities
Reefers occupy a pivotal position in the global sheries
trade. These specialised refrigerating cargo ships can deep-
freeze, process and store catch at minus 28°C, enabling
them to travel long distances. They can go port-hopping,
unloading or uploading sh in conventional terminal
facilities, and can also ‘comb’ shing grounds in search of
vessels with full holds that prefer to ‘tranship’ – that is,
transfer – the sh at sea.
The FishSpektrum tracking system
For this study we use a unique data source to examine
reefer activity in western African waters. The analysis of
the reefer vessels’ activity is derived from the FishSpektrum
Krakken® UVI database – a shing and sh carrier vessel
identier database. All the data included in the Krakken®
UVI database come from ofcial public registries and
reports. The version used for the purpose of this study
(Krakken® V.7.1) accounts for some 1,582,000 historical
references for more than 820,000 vessels, making it the
world’s largest existing shing vessel database. It provides
comprehensive characterisations of shing vessels from
around the world, with more than 100 specic information
items per vessel, with historical data going back to 2009.
Further technical details are provided in Annex 1.
The area covered by our data exercise extends from
the Strait of Gibraltar to Cape Town. We look at shing
activity in the whole of western Africa, which includes
countries’ EEZs7 as well as the open seas. Western African
waters fall under the FAO’s Eastern Central and South
Eastern Atlantic regions. (See Figure 2 in the Annex for
further details on the area covered.)
In 2013, according to FishSpektrum’s database, 35
shing reefers visited western African waters. They were
agged to the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Belize,
Panama, Malta, Kiribati, Japan, Spain, Vanuatu, Sierra
Leone and Ghana, most of which are considered ags
of convenience (FOCs).8 Nine of the 35 reefers (all of
the tuna reefers except one) were agged in Vanuatu
alone – a jurisdiction marked by limited capacity, a lack of
7. Atlantic, Eastern Central (Major Fishing Area 34): The waters bounded by a line running from a point of the high-water mark of North Africa at 5°36’
west longitude; thence running in a southerly direction following the high-water mark along the coast of Africa to a point at Ponta do Padrão at 6°04’36’
south latitude and 12°19’48’’ east longitude; thence along a rhumb line in a northwesterly direction to a point at 6°00’ south latitude and 12°00’
east longitude; thence due west along 6°00’ south latitude to 20°00’ west longitude; thence due north to the equator; thence due west to 30°00’ west
longitude; thence due north to 5°00’ north latitude; thence due west to 40°00’ west longitude, thence due north to 36°00’ north latitude; thence due east
to Point Marroqui at 5°36’ west longitude and 36°00’ north latitude; thence due south to the original point on the African coast.
8. Flags of convenience are registries that allow a ship to be registered in a sovereign state other than that of the ship’s owners. Ships are registered under
ags of convenience to reduce operating costs or to avoid the regulations of the owners’ country. For example, 84% of the Netherlands Antilles’ registry
is foreign, including mainly ships from the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey and others; Belize’s registry is 62% foreign, including mainly ships from China,
Russia, Turkey and Latvia (The Basement Geographer, 2012).
16 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 17
transparency and failure to enforce minimum international
social standards on its vessels (IFT, 2015). Vanuatu has
also been accused of registering a large number of vessels
allegedly involved in IUU shing, and of resisting pressure
from Australia, New Zealand and the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for
tighter controls, and of accommodating owners seeking to
avoid full disclosure (Van Fossen, 2012). Vanuatu’s registry
is made up of 94% foreign ships, mainly from Japan,
Poland, Russia, Canada and Greece (Vanuatu Maritime
Services Limited, 2016).
For the purposes of this study, we have classied the 35 reefers
into four major groups (Table 1). These groups are as follows:
Tuna reefers, registered with ICCAT and with observers on
board. These are relatively small freezing and transporting
vessels transporting high-value tuna and connecting
western African shing grounds with Asia. Most of them
are agged to Vanuatu.
Table 1: The 35 reefers operating in western Africa in 2013a
Type Reefer name Flag Carrying capacity (Mt) Trips outside
western Africa
Tuna reefers
Tuna long liners, ICCAT-listed, with observers on
board
Chikuma Vanuatu 3,009.78 3
Futagami Vanuatu 731.41 3
Genta Maru Vanuatu 2,983.33 1
Harima 2 Vanuatu 1,734.62 1
Haru Vanuatu 1,731.41 2
Ibuki Vanuatu 3,009.78 1
Meita Maru Vanuatu 925 1
Shin Fuji Vanuatu 857.05 2
Taisei Maru 159Vanuatu 4,060.90 0
Taisei Maru 24 Japan 4,049.36 2
Shuttle reefers Rangiroa Belize 2,064.10 2
Hai Feng 895 Panama 2,243.59 9
Inter-western African
Reefers doing inter-African routes, linking western
African ports10
Lucky Ever Sierra Leone 1,877.88 0
Normandic Belize 2,452.02 0
Volta Glory Ghana 2,106.28 0
Volta Victory Ghana 2,801.28 0
Meltemi (previously New Prosperity) Kiribati 2,947.44 0
Others China Frost Panama 2,872.02 2
Tokachi Frost Belize 2,511.92 1
Monte Laura Panama 2,176.28 5
Plate Reefer Panama 1,017.95 1
Dolly 79811 Philippines 2,148.72 0
Izar Argia Spain 2,467.95 2
Reina Cristina Panama 1,537.76 2
(MFD 68) Sierra Medoc Malta 3,004.17 2
Astraea 102 Panama 1,458.33 2
Paloma Reefer12 Malta 735.9 0
Princesa Guasimara Malta 769.23 1
9. In 2013, Taisei Maru 15 left Japan, crossed the Indian Ocean towards East Africa and entered western African waters on 18 December, not leaving the
region for the remainder of that year.
10. No trips are registered here for these reefers as they were not observed leaving the region.
11. The Dolly 798 only travelled from Gibraltar to Papua New Guinea in 2013, crossing but without stopping anywhere in western Africa.
12. The Paloma Reefer started its activity in 2013 from the port of Las Palmas in Spain, but does not seem to do any transhipments in western African waters
that year, focusing instead in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Table 1: The 35 reefers operating in western Africa in 2013a (cont’d)
Netherlands and Netherlands Antilles reefers Nova Zeelandia13 Netherlands Antilles 2,386.73 2
Sierra King Netherlands 2,416.12 4
Nova Florida14 Netherlands Antilles 2,797.76 1
Cool Expreso Netherlands 2,833.43 3
Sierra Loba Netherlands Antilles 2,976.92 2
Pacific Netherlands 3,004.62 2
Sierra Leyre Netherlands 4,719.49 2
Note: The amount of sh transported outside western Africa (calculated as the total capacity of reefers multiplied by the number of round
trips they do outside the region) is: Tuna reefers – 33,152 Mt; Shuttle reefers – 24,321 Mt; Inter-western African reefers – 0 Mt; other reefers
(including Netherlands reefers) – 84,999 Mt; making a total of 142,471 Mt.
13. The Nova Zeelandia behaves like an inter-western African reefer, operating mainly within these regional waters except for two trips to A Pobra do
Caramiñal and Las Palmas in Spain.
14. The Nova Florida behaves like a shuttle reefer too for most of the year until October, when it leaves towards America crossing the Atlantic.
15. The EU market is still open to sh transhipped at sea by third-country vessels.
16. ICCAT is an intergovernmental sheries organisation responsible for the conservation of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent
seas. ICCAT is one of the many regional sheries management organisations (RFMOs), but is particularly relevant in this region.
17. The Automatic Identication System (AIS) is a tracking system employed by vessels for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data
with other nearby ships, AIS terrestrial stations and satellites, to improve marine safety (Weather Dock, 2016).
Shuttle reefers linking the ports of western Africa with
the Spanish free port of Las Palmas, where sh are
unloaded, containerised and transported to markets in
Europe.
Inter-western African reefers serving regional ports and
not leaving regional waters.
Other reefers that sail to wider regions, including ports
and shing grounds in the Pacic. Within this group,
there is a strong presence of Dutch vessels.
The 35 reefers illustrate how deeply western Africa is
now integrated into a global web of transactions. Among
the countries and ports visited by the reefers were Las
Palmas (Spain), New Orleans (US), Weymouth (UK), Tokyo
(Japan), Malta Freeport, Seoul (South Korea), Singapore
and Shanghai (China). However, it is the transhipment
activities of some of the reefers within the EEZs – 200
miles off the western Africa coast – which give most cause
for concern.
3.2 Transhipments – tracking points to
suspicious activity
Fish transhipments can take place at sea, in port and in
controlled harbours near to shore.
Transhipments at sea can make it harder for port
authorities or the ag authorities to monitor how, by
whom and where transferred sh were caught as both
IUU and legal catches can be mixed. This is why such
transhipments are subject to stringent national and
global rules, and in some cases are banned outright. The
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic
Tunas Regional Observer Programme (ROP) for At-Sea
Transhipments for example, requires that all transhipments
of ICCAT species (tuna and tuna-like species) must take
place in port unless they are monitored under a Regional
Observer Programme Authorised Carrier Vessel (Interpol,
2014: 14). In western Africa, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire
have banned transhipments in their EEZs (EJF, 2013c).
Several importing countries have attempted to regulate
sh transhipments. The EU’s IUU Regulation restricts sh
transhipments by vessels agged to Member States. This
is to ensure that the sh being loaded onto reefers can be
tracked and the legality of the catch established. However,
transhipments are allowed when a vessel is operating under
the auspices of an RFMO,15 which would mean having
observers on board (European Commission, 2010). In
western Africa, the only RFMO operating is ICCAT.16
FishSpektrum’s database combined with the Automatic
Identication System (AIS)17 signals which FishSpektrum
acquired for this report, make it possible to identify
patterns consistent with transhipment activity at sea. One
‘signal’ for such patterns includes a vessel remaining in a
xed location for a period of time. Another is a tracking
pattern indicating that a vessel is not travelling between
ports at cruise speed but is operating – and potentially
seeking out sh transhipment business – in a specied
area. Reefers crossing an EEZ at cruise speed will show
a straight trail, emitting signals regularly. By contrast,
if a reefer is transhipping catch, the tracks will have an
undulating, zigzagging or irregular shape, or be grouped in
clusters. This behaviour could also be explained by other
18 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 19
activities such as repairs and the transfer of fuel, gear and
other goods, though normally these would happen near
ports and along the coastline, as opposed to the open sea.
In any case, irregular tracking signals do provide prima
facie evidence of possible transhipment activities.
The vast majority of the 35 reefers tracked in our exercise
generate tracks consistent with possible transhipment in
EEZs. This includes several vessels with tracks indicative of
probable transhipment in Senegal’s and Côte d’Ivoire’s EEZs,
which would be illegal. The Sierra Loba, Nova Florida and
Nova Zeelandia, all carrying Netherlands Antilles ags –
considered to be a FOC – and operated by Seatrade Reefer
Chartering N.V., based in Willemstad Curaçao and with a
branch ofce in Antwerp (Belgium), are three examples.
Sierra Loba. At the beginning of June 2013, the vessel
generated an erratic trail consistent with transhipping in
Côte d’Ivoire’s EEZ. The activities occurred in an area
located in the middle of the EEZ and close to Ghana’s
EEZ. Additionally, from 6 to 23 August the vessel remained
in Senegal’s EEZ, and from 18 to 22 August it generated
tracks in an area some 124 nautical miles from the coast,
tracing an erratic, J-shaped trail consistent with those of a
reefer on the lookout for shing vessels (Figure 1).
Nova Florida. The vessel generated trails consistent with
transhipment in an area adjacent to Dakar, some 37 to 38
nautical miles from the coast, between 29 June and 6 July.
The erratic trail of this reefer on 5 July is shown in Figure 2.
Nova Zeelandia. The vessel’s tracks are consistent with
transhipment activity in Senegal’s EEZ in areas 62
nautical miles off Dakar (18 July), 73 nautical miles
(21 July) and 87 nautical miles (23 July). Figure 3 shows
tracking data consistent with transhipment activity
(20 July).
These three cases are not in any sense statistically
representative of the 35 reefers – but neither are they in
any sense abnormal. Our data do not constitute evidence
of transhipment linked to IUU shing. However, the data
do raise concerns, in part because authorities in western
Africa are unable to monitor the vessels; and in part
because the weaknesses in the wider governance regime
for sheries mean that vessels engaged in transhipment-
related IUU are able to evade reporting systems. Detailed
tracking of one particular vessel –Sierra King – illustrates
how tracking patterns consistent with transhipment
may undermine the regulatory approaches of importing
countries, and the sustainable resource management efforts
of governments in western Africa
In response to our ndings, Seatrade Reefer Chartering
N.V., the company which owns Sierra King reefer and
appears as the operator of Nova Florida, Sierra Loba and
Nova Zeelandia, referred us to a company called Greensea
Chartering. Greensea in turn conrmed that it operates
all these vessels and is owned 50% by Seatrade. Greensea
Chartering said that it was company policy not to share
information except with relevant governments or regulatory
bodies. However, its spokesperson did say ‘the fact that a
vessel has been tracked in an EEZ of a country does not
mean that a transhipment operation took place. Ships often
have to wait for next employment at strategic places’.
Figure 1: Sierra Loba’s tracks, August 2013
Senegal’s Exclusive Economic Zone, where transhipment
(moving catches from shing boats to reefers) is illegal.
High density of signals (hotspot), where a ship has slowed
down or stopped. Can indicate transhipment activity.
THE GAMBIA
SENEGAL
Dakar
Signal emitted
by ship.
Source: ODI design based on CartoDB, using FishSpektrum data.
Figure 2: Nova Florida’s tracks, 5 July 2013
Exclusive Economic Zones. In Senegal’s EEZ transhipment
(moving catches from shing boats to reefers) is illegal.
High density of signals (hotspot), where a ship has slowed
down or stopped. Can indicate transhipment activity.
THE GAMBIA
SENEGAL
Dakar
Signal emitted
by ship.
Source: ODI design based on CartoDB, using FishSpektrum data.
Figure 3: Nova Zeelandia’s tracks, July 2013
Exclusive Economic Zones. In Senegal’s EEZ transhipment
(moving catches from shing boats to reefers) is illegal.
High density of signals (hotspot), where a ship has slowed
down or stopped. Can indicate transhipment activity.
THE GAMBIA
SENEGAL
Dakar
Signal emitted
by ship.
Source: ODI design based on CartoDB, using FishSpektrum data.
20 ODI Repo rt
Western Africa’s missing sh 21
Indeed, our data does not establish either sh
transhipments in banned areas or IUU shing on the
part of any of the 35 named reefers. The concern is that
repeat patterns of irregular tracking data could point in
that direction. Moreover, these patterns are consistent
with a gathering body of evidence raising concerns over
irregularities. To cite some of the more high-prole cases:
The South Korean-owned, Sierra Leonean-agged
Lucky Ever was identied in a 2013 report by the
Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) as a vessel
that is believed to have carried out a number of
unauthorised transhipments. EJF also claimed that
Lucky Ever was engaged in ‘ag-hopping’ – a practice
consistent with circumventing control measures
imposed by ag states aimed at curbing IUU shing
(FAO, 2014b).
Box 5: Sierra King
Sierra King, a reefer operated by Holland Klipper Shipping Company B.V. and flagged in the Netherlands,
generated several tracks during 2013 that may indicate transhipments in western African EEZs – a possible breach
of EU regulations which restricts sh transhipments by vessels agged to Member States. Given the capacity of the
vessel – 2,416 Mt – any over-shing activities would have consequences for sustainability.
In the course of 2013 Sierra King operated in several western African EEZs. Several irregular tracking patterns
can be detected. For example, the vessel stayed in front of the port of Lagos, a major entry point for sh being
imported into the country, for an entire day in August without calling into port. The vessel then sailed to the
middle of the EEZ, stayed there and returned to Lagos, calling at port early on 16 August. It remained at port until
19 August when the vessel departed for the south-east edge of the EEZ, some 200 nautical miles from the coast,
where it stayed until 22 August. These patterns are consistent with the movement of a reefer on the lookout for
shing vessels wishing to empty their holds (see gure below). The next day it called at the port of Warri, possibly
to unload sh for the huge Nigerian domestic market (estimated at $1.75 billion annually) (Emejor, 2013).
Sierra King, a tuna reefer, is registered with ICCAT. This means that it should have an observer on board to
monitor transhipments of tuna. However, a copy of ICCAT’s 2013 observers’ records obtained by the authors
makes no mention of Sierra King, suggesting that that any transhipments that were made were not witnessed by
authorised observers – a breach of EU regulations.
Tracks showing Sierra King staying for two days at the edge of Nigeria’s EEZ before returning to port
Exclusive Economic Zones. High density of signals (hotspot), where a ship has slowed
down or stopped. Can indicate transhipment activity.
CAMEROON
NIGERIA
BENIN
TOGO
GHANA
Signal emitted by ship.
Lagos
Source: ODI design based on CartoDB, using FishSpektrum data.
Note: Although Sierra King appears in the FishSpektrum Krakken® UVI database to be operated by a company called Holland Klipper
Shipping Company B.V., ICCAT Sierra King records show Holland Klipper Shipping Company B.V./ Seatrade Groningen B.V. as both
owner and operator of this vessel, meaning that they are the same entity. Seatrade Groningen B.V. in turn is part of the Seatrade group
which owns Seatrade Reefer Chartering N.V. see: http://www.iccat.int/en/VesselsRecordDet.asp?id=27470).
The company Seatrade Reefer Chartering N.V., based in
Willemstad, Curaçao, operates Nova Zeelandia and ve
other reefers in our list. Seatrade was named in an EJF
report as the owner of a reefer called Nova Australia that
was spotted apparently waiting to illegally tranship sh
from two trawlers in Guinea’s waters in 2006 (EJF, 2009).
The China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC),
which operates Hai Feng 895, was identied in a report
by EJF as the company operating several vessels with
a similar name (Hai Feng 823, Hai Feng 829 and Hai
Feng 830) illegally transhipping in 2009 (EJF, 2009).
According to Greenpeace, CNFC also underdeclared
gross tonnage for 44 of the 59 vessels it operates in
three western African countries (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau
and Guinea) in 2014, allowing them to evade licence
fees, and also illegally giving these higher volume vessels
access to prohibited areas (Greenpeace, 2015).
In 2013, the organisation Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) published
a report about a tuna purse seiner18 and two reefers, Volta
Glory and its sister Volta Victory – both on our list of 35
reefers. Owned by the Ghanaian Pano Company Limited,
these vessels were ‘found shing without a license well
within the Liberian EEZ as well as and illegally transhipping
sh within Liberian waters’ (SIF, 2013).
The Panama-agged Monte Laura, which is owned and
operated by Gestra Corporation S.A. of Panama, is part
of the Spanish Calvo Group.19 In a report published in
2007 Greenpeace alleged that Calvo had sold illegal tuna
(2007).20 One of the Groups’ sister vessels, Monte Cruz,
another tuna reefer operated from Panama, was named
in the Greenpeace report for carrying out transhipments
inside the Western and Central Pacic Fisheries
Commission region without proper authorisation.
Leaving aside the claims and counterclaims made with
respect to individual cases, the weight of evidence points
in a very clear direction. Transhipment has emerged as a
vehicle for underreporting catch, circumventing rules and
increasing prot at the expense of sustainability. Ocean
governance reform efforts need to focus far more strongly
on the regulation, or outright prohibition, of transhipment
in waters where monitoring capacity is weak. Given the
extent of transhipment practices in western Africa, there
is an equally urgent case for governments in the region
and aid donors to expand the size and efciency of the
coastguard eet, and to share satellite tracking data.
3.3 Containers and the sh trade
It has been widely assumed that reefers account for
most of the sheries’ catch transported out of western
Africa waters. Closer analysis of our 35 reefers calls that
assumption into question.
Drawing on the FishSpektrum dataset we have
estimated the volume of sh taken out of western Africa’s
EEZ by reefers. Specically, we identify that 27 reefers of
the 35 we identied operating in the region in 2013 left
western African waters that year. These reefers made a
total of 61 trips in total outside the region. We downloaded
information on the individual carrying capacity of each
vessel, making the assumption that they were operating at
100% capacity – an assumption that pushes our estimate
in the direction of likely overestimation. We then multiply
capacity by number of trips to derive an overall volume.
Using this method we estimate that reefers transported a
total of 142,471 Mt of sh out of western Africa in 2013.21
Even with a discount applied to reect a the presence of
sh caught outside western African waters, this represents
only around 16% of total net exports22 reported in UN
trade data which amounted to 893,187.57 Mt that year.23
Even allowing for the widely acknowledged
shortcomings in ofcial sh catch and trade data, this is
an enormous gap. But if the sh is not leaving by reefers –
how else is it being transported?
That question can be answered through simple
deduction. Land transportation is not a credible route
given the poor quality of transport infrastructure and
the high costs that would be incurred. Air transport is
a similarly implausible route for mass exports. So the
sh almost certainly leaves by sea. Fishing trawlers are
unlikely to account for more than a small share given the
long journeys and the costs of transporting. All of this
points towards the central role of refrigerated containers
in accounting for the bulk of export trade. Based on the
available data we estimate that most of the remaining 84%
of the sh transported from western Africa is exported in
18. This type of vessel has a shing seine that is drawn into the shape of a bag to enclose the catch.
19 The Calvo Group’s report lists Gestra Corp. Inc., from Panama, as the company in charge of part of its eet (see: http://grupocalvo.com/memoria/
CALVO_report_2013_ing.pdf). ICCAT’s records of Monte Laura show Gestra as the owner and include the Calvo email address in its references (see:
www.iccat.int/en/VesselsRecordDet.asp?id=16219).
20. Greenpeace lists Calvo’s Montes eet, which includes, apart from Monte Laura, Monte Alegre, Monte Celo, Monte Claro, Monte Cruz, Monte Frisa,
Monte Lape, Monte Lucía, Monte Rocío and Monte Sol, trawlers, shing vessels and reefers based in Panama, Cape Verde, El Salvador and Seychelles.
The only reefers in the list are Monte Laura and Monte Cruz.
21. Reefers transported a lot of sh within the region, as the reefers doing inter-African routes show. This was not taken into account, as we looked only into
the sh transported out of the region.
22. Trade data are drawn from the UN ComTrade Database, using Harmonised System codes 0302, 0303 and 0304 which represent the bulk of the traded sh.
23. Overall, 5,244,866 Mt of sh were reportedly caught in western African waters in 2013, according to FAO Fishstat. Western African coastal countries
caught 4,383,747 Mt with the remainder was caught by countries from outside the region.
22 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 23
containers. Containers play an increasingly important role
in global transport systems (Economist, 2013). They now
carry around 90% of non-bulk seagoing cargo (Ebeling,
2009). Container ships now rival crude oil tankers and
bulk carriers as the largest commercial vessels in the
ocean. Refrigerated containers can ship perishable cargo.
While they cannot freeze sh, they can be powered to keep
content frozen.
Container trade has grown in sub-Saharan Africa.
In western Africa, there are major container hubs at
Walvis Bay (Namibia), Cape Town (South Africa), Dakar
(Senegal), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Lagos (Nigeria) and
Tema (Ghana), to name some of the main ones. Just
beyond western Africa is the Spanish free port of Las
Palmas – a major hub for sh being transported from the
region into Europe.
For this report we carried out an investigation into the
transportation of sh from western Africa through the
Spanish free port of Las Palmas – one of Europe’s largest
container hubs. Port authorities provided the authors with
records of vessels transporting frozen sh from western
Africa in 2013. In total, 349 trips were recorded from
destinations including Angola, South Africa (Cape Town),
Senegal, Nigeria, Mauritania, Morocco (Agadir), Western
Sahara (Laayoune); and all but one (from Angola) involved
containers. Total imports of western African sh carried by
the containers amounted to 118,701 Mt.24
Similarly, data from the container port of Walvis Bay
in Namibia, a regional hub for western African exports,
underscores the deep integration of the region into global
markets (Figure 3.5). Strikingly, however, almost two thirds
of Walvis Bay exports went to Spain.25
24. Data supplied by Las Palmas Port authorities (2013) to authors.
25. Ofcials at the Walvis Bay port authority told the report authors that gures for 2014 were similar to those for 2013, but were not available. Assuming
similar exports to Spain, and given that the free port of Las Palmas did not register any imports from Walvis Bay in 2013, it would be reasonable to
assume that most Walvis Bay exports to Spain went to ports other than Las Palmas, landing directly in mainland Spain where sh would be consumed,
re-exported to third countries or processed.
Table 2: Las Palmas imports of frozen sh from western Africa
Countries No. of trips Amount (Mt)
South Africa (Cape Town) 23 500
Senegal (Dakar) 99 44,624
Mauritania (Nouadhibou) 108 39,839
Mauritania (Nouakchott) 23 1,783
Nigeria* 39 1,509
Western Sahara (Laayoune) 16 2,193
Morocco (Agadir) 41 28,253
TOTAL 349 118,701
Note: * The ports were not specied in the records.
Table 3: Containerised frozen sh cargo from Walvis Bay for 2014
Destination country Amount of frozen fish (Mt)
Algeria 836
Australia 2,178
Bahamas 1
Belgium 704
Chile 44
China 242
France 4,246
Georgia 44
Germany 5,852
Greece 264
Indonesia 132
Italy 8,954
Japan 1,232
Jordan 44
Lebanon 44
Libya 484
Liechtenstein 88
Malaysia 220
Mauritius 242
Netherlands 5,170
Norway 44
Poland 462
Portugal 9,196
Russian Federation 242
Singapore 1,166
South Korea 1,210
Spain 91,498
Sweden 44
Switzerland 66
UAE 88
UK 4,972
Uruguay 176
USA 880
TOTAL 141,065
3.4 Undermining global sheries governance
The rise of containerised trade threatens to derail efforts to
curtail IUU sheries. This is for the very simple reason
that containers face less stringent inspection and reporting
regimes than reefers and shing vessels. In essence, the
fastest growing means of export and the largest share
of western African exports are subject to the weakest
reporting systems.
The governance threat is a problem for importers as well
as exporters. Consider the case of the EU, which claims to
be leading the ght against IUU shing. The EU is by far the
biggest seafood market in the world, and a key market for
western African sh. In 2013, it imported more than $23
billion worth of frozen sh, representing 40% of the world
total, according to UN ComTrade. Western African coastal
states exported 274,000 Mt of sh to the EU that year,
accounting for 44% of their total exports abroad.
The European Council Regulation on IUU shing26
came into force in January 2010, implementing the 2001
United Nations International Plan of Action on IUU
Fishing. One of its aims was to prevent the importing
of seafood products obtained through IUU shing by
requiring consignments of sh to be accompanied by a
catch certicate validated by the shing vessel’s ag state.
In theory, this makes eligibility for access conditional on
exporters demonstrating that products have been certied
as legal by the relevant ag state.
When ag states are unable to certify their products, the
European Commission starts a process of cooperation and
assistance with them to help improve their legal frameworks.
The milestones of this process are the warnings. In the event
of failed compliance, the Commission rst issues a ‘yellow
card’, meaning that trade with that country is at risk unless
it tackles the concerns raised. Continued failure leads to a
‘red card’, a trade ban. In 2013, Ghana was issued a ‘yellow
card’ for failing to act against IUU shing. The warning was
lifted in 2015 (European Commission, 2015b). In the case of
Guinea, the EU imposed trade sanctions in November 2013
that are still in force
The EU Regulation contains wider mechanisms. These
range from ‘blacklisting’ vessels engaged in IUU shing to
imposing sanctions on operators, banning imports and port
access, and restricting seafood imports from ‘uncooperative’
third countries, which are those that the European
Commission regards as not doing enough to combat this
activity. Another provision allows for legal sanctions to be
applied to EU nationals engaged in IUU shing.
The problem is that requirements to inspect landings in
EU ports under the IUU Regulation (European Parliament,
2014) only apply to shing vessels and reefers. Container
vessels are exempt. In fact, the EU Regulation explicitly
excludes container vessels from the scope of the denition
of shing vessels. For the purposes of the Regulation
shing vessels are dened as:
any vessel of any size used or intended
for use for the purposes of commercial
exploitation of shery resources, including
support ships, sh processing vessels,
vessels engaged in transhipment and carrier
vessels equipped for the transportation of
shery products, except container vessels.27
This restricted legal denition is poorly aligned with the
realities of global sheries trade in general – and with EU–
western Africa sheries trade in particular. According to
the EU’s own handbook on the application of its anti-IUU
legislation, container ships do not have to abide by the
same rule that applies to third-country vessels.28
Container vesselsare not compelled to provide the same
information as shing vessels and reefers to the competent
port authorities. They are not subject to Article 6 of the
IUU Regulation which rules that these third-country vessels
must notify the competent authorities of an EU Member
State whose (designated) port facilities they wish to use
at least three working days prior to the estimated time of
arrival, or entry into that port may be denied, to ensure the
effectiveness of controls.
While it is true that EU regulations also state that all
sh importers have to certify the legality of the catch, the
certication scheme itself is awed.29 Specically, it relies
on paper copies of documents, severely compromising
26. Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and
unregulated shing, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001 and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 1093/94
and (EC) No 1447/1999.
27. Article 5(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 on IUU shing, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32008R1005&
from=EN
28. See European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs And Fisheries (2008: 12): ‘Are container vessels included in the scope of the
denition of shing vessels in Article 2(5)? No, container vessels fall outside the scope of shing vessels and will therefore not have to give prior
notication as indicated in Article 6. However, all marine shery products must be accompanied by a catch certicate regardless of the mode of
transportation to the EC (by any type of vessel, by airfreight, by surface transportation)’.
29. As a general rule, the importer is required to submit to the authorities of the importing Member State catch certicates three working days prior to the
anticipated arrival of the consignment. The IUU Regulation foresees, irrespective of the means of transport, controls that are the responsibility of and
conducted by Member States.
24 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 25
document security and traceability. Although control
capacities have been improved, in many cases it is up to
third countries’ authorities to determine whether the shing
products covered by the catch certicate were actually
caught legally and that no illegal transhipments occurred.
Given the capacity constraints facing regulatory bodies in
western Africa and other low-income regions, this offers the
EU at best a limited mitigation of IUU import risk.
The EU also lacks the capacity to cross-check the
authenticity of the certicates, and there is no centralised
system allowing European countries to cross-check
information and identify fraud. Fortunately, the EU
recently recognised the need to tackle this issue. Its
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries,
Karmenu Vella, announced in a communication on the EU
Regulation to Combat IUU shing that the Commission
aims to introduce a digital system by the end of 2016
(Hidas, 2015).
This lack of control mechanisms is reected in reality.
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries conrmed to the report
authors that only 26 sh container consignments30 were
blocked due to IUU shing concerns in 2012, another 75 in
2013 and 33 in 2014, originating from all over the world,
not just western Africa. In total, they amounted to only
8,000 Mt, a tiny fraction of the sh entering the EU from
abroad.
Worryingly, the Commission does not know how many
containers carrying sh arrive at EU ports. In January
2013 it admitted to the European Parliament that it ‘does
not have specic information as to the volume of sh
transported by refrigerated shipping containers’, something
which has not since changed, as the Commission conrmed
to us.
Asked about the volume of IUU sh entering the EU,
the Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs
and Fisheries told the report authors that, although it is
impossible to provide precise gures,
past estimates concluded that 19% of the
worldwide reported value of catches was
IUU. Taking into consideration that the
EU is the biggest seafood market and
imports two thirds of its consumption,
a substantial percentage of the IUU
products could be destined [for] the EU.
Further investigation is required to determine how much
of the sh exported in containers is actually IUU catch. It
could be that that licensed foreign vessels take more than
they declare or catch sh in prohibited areas. However,
what is clear is that transhipments, inadequate port
controls, along with the looser regulation of container
trafc, combine to make a system ripe for exploitation.
30. A ‘consignment’ means products that are either sent simultaneously from one exporter to one consignee or covered by a single transport document
covering their shipment from the exporter to the consignee. In consequence, consignments can either cover one container or multiple containers.
IUU shing in western Africa confronts governments in the
region, the EU and the wider international community with
complex legal, technical and administrative challenges. For
the people of the region the challenges are more immediate.
In a region marked by high levels of poverty and inequality,
IUU shing has devastating human consequences. It
undermines the livelihoods of vulnerable people, creates
food insecurity and robs people and countries of the
revenues they need to support inclusive economic growth.
This section will provide an overview of the impact of
IUU shing on livelihoods and food security, as well as its
links to crime and other illegal activities. The reverse side
of this impact is the huge scope for self-reliant development
that could be unlocked if the losses associated with IUU
shing could be stemmed. We estimate that some 306,000
new jobs could be created in local sheries and processing
industries if the region developed the shing resources on
a sustainable basis – helping to reduce poverty, giving hope
to the region’s huge young population.
4.1 Fisheries: a lifeline for livelihoods
Western African countries lie at the very bottom of the
development ladder. While the picture varies across
countries, collectively they have high rates of child
and maternal mortality, poor education opportunities
and extremely high levels of inequality. Most have life
expectancy levels 20 years lower than in Europe, reecting
the incidence of preventable diseases, poor nutrition levels
and the alarming gaps between rural and urban sectors.
Fisheries occupy a pivotal role in the livelihoods of
people across the region. According to the FAO, 10
million people are directly employed in the sheries and
aquaculture sector in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa,
70% of whom are in western and Central African
countries (FAO, 2006). Recent estimates suggest that
marine artisanal sheries alone employ more than 32,000
workers in the Gambia, 45,000 in Côte d’Ivoire and almost
100,000 in Senegal, just to name a few western African
countries (de Graaf and Garibaldi, 2014).
Women feature prominently in the work force. Around
a quarter of the total labour force in sheries is comprised
of female workers, mostly employed in post-harvest
jobs,31 especially in sh processing activities (ibid.). Their
income brings wide-ranging benets to their families and
communities, allowing them to provide much needed food,
health and education for their children.
Fishery sectors account for a signicant share of western
Africa’s national income. An analysis of nine western
African countries showed that the average contribution
of the sheries and aquaculture sector was 4.1% of
GDP, almost half of which was linked to the post-harvest
industry (FAO, 2014). This gure does not include the
value of processing activities, which would dramatically
increase the total value of this sector.
4. IUU fishing and development
in western Africa: impacts
and opportunities
When the number of shermen increases or decreases, a domino effect occurs. Fish processors and
traders are obviously affected but so are boat builders, fuel providers, wood sellers and other less
nancially rewarding, often temporary and unrecorded, jobs which provide a real safety net for the poor.
FAO report on the contribution of sheries to economies
in West and Central Africa (FAO, 2006)
31. Post-harvest refers to all sheries activities taking place after actual shing, including sh processing, transport and sale of sh.
26 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 27
4.2 Impacts of IUU shing on western African
development
IUU shing is having a huge impact on western African
livelihoods and economies by directly contributing to the
overexploitation of the region’s sheries resources, as seen
earlier in the report.
First and foremost, IUU shing threatens small-scale
sheries. This is one of the most important employment
sectors in the region, accounting for up to a quarter of jobs
in some countries. Artisanal sheries, in fact, contribute
more to African economies than industrial sheries
through a vast intra-regional trading network in which
women play a central role – one that is now at risk (FAO,
2014a).
To make matters worse, those shers who follow all
regulatory requirements can also be affected by IUU
shers who poach local resources. They end up earning
less money as a result of competition from lower-priced
IUU products caught by shermen who do not pay tax on
prots or to gain access to sheries resources. This, in turn,
means that IUU shers have lower costs and therefore can
sell their products more cheaply than legal operators.
IUU shing also threatens the food security of millions
of people in the region. In Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal sh
provides an estimated 45% of animal protein, and the kilos
consumed per capita in these and other countries in the
region is higher than the African average (FAO, 2016).
Artisanal and subsistence shers are on the front line of
the crisis associated with IUU shing, along with millions
of people living in small coastal communities. In Sierra
Leone, the sheries sector played a critical role in the
post-conict recovery of the country. In 2005, sheries
contributed as much as 9.4% to GDP and employed more
than 240,000 people, many of them small-scale shers and
women. Almost two thirds of the animal protein consumed
in the country comes from sh, which is available and
affordable. Yet some estimates put the IUU catch in excess
of 25% of total catches – an enormous diversion of
opportunity and income from local shers and processors
(EJF, 2011).
As previously stated, weak governance, limited
accountability and failures of transparency combined
to create a fertile environment for IUU shing. A
report by the British consulting rm Marine Resources
Assessment Group concluded that the lower rates of
IUU shing actually seemed to correlate with proxies of
good governance, such as access to information, media
censorship and levels of perceived corruption. This suggests
that ghting this practice and enhancing development go
hand in hand (MRAG, 2005; GOC, 2013).
Box 6: Why IUU shing is a problem for global development objectives
In 2015 governments around the world adopted an ambitious set of Sustainable Development Goals aimed at
eradicating extreme poverty and expanding opportunity. For western Africa, the sheries sector has a crucial role
to play in delivering on these goals:*
providing income for millions of families, as well as food security through affordable, nutritious means (Goals
1 and 4)
underpinning the education and health of children and their mothers through the livelihoods and the equitable
promotion of hundreds of thousands of women (Goals 2, 3, 4 and 5)
ensuring marine environmental sustainability by providing an alternative to depleting industrial practices (Goal 7)
offering western African economies a chance for enhanced trade balances, progressive partnerships and
alternative economic means (Goal 8).
How much of this can be sustained and increased in the coming years depends largely on the ght against IUU
shing.
For the rst time ever, the global road map for development in the next 15 years includes a mandate to
‘conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’, with an explicit
reference to the depletion of marine resources and the overexploitation of coasts around the world – something
the region is far from being able to achieve at the moment.
* Extracted from WorldFish (2005).
Box 7: IUU Fishing and organised crime
IUU shing is not just about the loss of biodiversity and a threat to livelihoods. There is a growing body of evidence
pointing to IUU shing as part of the wider web of organised cross-border crime, money laundering, tax avoidance
and even nancing for terrorist activity in western Africa (UNODC, 2011).
For instance, Interpol points out that many foreign vessels associated with human trafcking in western Africa
also engage in IUU shing (Interpol, 2014). It adds that the lack of capacity of regional governments to monitor
illegal activity at sea, combined with a lack of awareness, make identifying and prosecuting human trafcking in
the shing industry an extremely difcult task. Even when intercepted, many human trafcking cases are treated as
associated forms of crime, such as a breach of immigration laws.
The campaign group Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) documented several cases of human trafcking
and labour abuses aboard IUU shing vessels in the region. The human rights abuses suffered include physical and
emotional abuse, incarceration, forced labour without pay and inadequate living conditions (EJF, 2010).
Crucially, transhipments appear to make life for criminals easier. According to the Black Fish Project,
‘transhipments between shing vessels are a common method to trafc drugs, smuggle migrants and weapons’
largely due to the lack of controls over this activity (Bondaroff and Teale, 2015).
Tax evasion is also rife. According to an OECD global report on this issue, tax crime in the sheries sector
globally includes ‘fraud in respect of taxes on prot or earnings, customs duties, VAT and social security’. The
report adds that the prevalence of offshore companies with little or no oversight, and ags of convenience which are
commonly used by IUU operators, are a hallmark of a sector that benets from global legal loopholes, contributing
to the theft of regional resources.
All of this has huge development implications, hollowing already weak governance institutions and diverting
nance from priority investments in jobs, health and education. The security challenges associated with IUU extend
far beyond western African coastal waters.
Box 8: Conicts between IUU shers and local shers
Direct conict between IUU shers and local shermen is commonplace in western Africa. Kelleher and Rottingen
(2002) reported that, in some western African countries, conict broke out between industrial and artisanal
shermen especially where shing grounds were narrow and close to the shore.
Ousman Drammeh (2000), has also described this tension:
The ever-increasing competition for sh in small scale shing grounds has brought about conicts amongst
small-scale shers and also conicts between small-scale and large-scale (industrial) shers. This competition
has resulted in diminishing economic returns from shing operations and a threat to the livelihood security of
small-scale shers and their families. Out of sheer desperation, many small-scale shers have resorted to the
use of explosives, poisons and highly destructive shing gears, methods and techniques.
According to Drammeh, a former Director of Fisheries in the Gambia, in the coastal waters of western Africa,
‘industrial shing vessels are habitually encroaching in small scale shing grounds and they are on record for
employing shing gears, methods and techniques which are prohibited for use’ (ibid.).
Conicts between IUU industrial and artisanal or semi-artisanal shers were particularly prevalent in shrimp
sheries around western Africa, including Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as in the inshore sheries of
Mauritania and Senegal.
According to the Marine Resources Assessment Group,
Conicts may be direct (vessels running others down) or indirect (removing all available sh or shrimp), the
former often leading to accidents, death and injury amongst artisanal and other local inshore shers. These,
in turn, will have economic and social consequences for shers and their families, including lower catches
through injury, loss of earnings (MRAG, 2005).
The incidence of armed resistance to surveillance and enforcement operations appears to be on the increase too. The
Gulf of Guinea – including Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and
Principe –is an area of intense sh transhipments. It was identied in a European Council report as being a ‘hotspot
for piracy and armed robbery at sea’, to the extent that the European Council’s Critical Maritime Routes in the Gulf
of Guinea Programme developed an action plan to tackle ‘priority threats’ including armed robberies, hijackings
and cargo theft (European Council, 2015).
28 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 29
4.3 Fisheries in western Africa: a lost
opportunity
Foreign investment in sheries can provide poor countries
with much needed income. In western Africa, taxes, tariffs,
export revenues and quota fees from sheries could make a
key difference to the region’s development.
Currently, much of the benet to Africa from shery
exports is generated through the sale of shing rights to
foreign operators. According to the FAO, the revenue from
this source runs to around $400 million per year for the
whole continent (FAO, 2014a:). The same estimate suggests
that African states could, in theory, generate eight times
more than this – some $3.3 billion – if national eets
harvested and exported the sh.
The nature of the agreements signed with certain foreign
countries and companies gives rise to legal loopholes, such
as the practice of linking payments to vessels rather than
to the value of the catch (FAO, 2014a). Local processing
could add greatly to the export value of sh, with signicant
employment gains.
Despite their pivotal role in development prospects
for many countries, sheries attract modest levels of aid.
Total development assistance ows to the shing sector
(including policy development and management) in
western Africa amounted to $71 million in 2013, four-
fths of which was concentrated in Angola ($40.4 million)
and Mauritania ($15.2 million) (OECD.Stat, 2016).32
The contrast with expenditure on subsidies is striking. It is
estimated that governments in the major shery trading nations
spend $27 billion in direct subsidies and tax exemptions every
year, equivalent to 41% of the value of the global catch (Africa
Progress Panel, 2014). These subsidies encourage overshing.
They also make it difcult for investors in western Africa to
develop eets equipped to compete against their rich foreign
rivals, or to develop indigenous eets even if they wanted to.
The African Union sought to address this by adopting
an integrated maritime strategy two years ago. This aimed
to ensure that only African-owned vessels would be able
to trade within Africa’s coastal waters. However, many
experts doubt that such an ambitious scheme can be
implemented in the near future since it would require the
kind of resources which the region lacks.33 Additionally,
the African Union’s limited supra-national powers pose a
strong political barrier to the strategy becoming a reality.
As a result of all this, western African countries
are failing to take full advantage of the opportunities
underlying the sheries sector, despite having the potential
to build a sustainable indigenous industry based on a
natural resource already present in the area.
Fishing has indeed been a powerful basis of some successful
modern industrialisation experiences elsewhere, such as Japan.
In his book describing the Japanese experience after the war,
Roger D. Smith (2014) offers a picture that has a surprising
resemblance to the modern needs of the western African region:
It was hoped that a strong shing
industry would allow the Japanese to
provide for their own food requirements
while relieving the United States of
burdensome aid expenses and create the
necessary impetus to rebuild essential
economic sectors such as ironworks and
shipbuilding. Furthermore, exports of
surplus sh products could provide much
needed hard currency and help build
foreign exchange reserves.
While Japan did not have to face the intensive depletion of
natural resources that threatens western African countries, its
experience is relevant for a region which is on the verge of a
‘demographic dividend’. That is, one that could take advantage
of the productive capacity of the additional labour supply
provided by its booming young population (ILO, 2005: 53).
According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), one
in three sub-Saharan Africans – including many in western
Africa – are in the 10- to 24-year-old age range, the highest
in the developing world (UNFPA, 2014). Yet, the region
suffers from disturbingly high levels of underemployment
and precariousness, something that the sheries sector has
the potential to reduce (ILO, 2005: 53).
4.4 Securing a sustainable sheries premium
Uncertainties over the full extent of IUU shing make it difcult
to establish the social, economic and human costs incurred in
western Africa However, it is possible, on the basis of indicative
extrapolation, to estimate the potential benets were the region
to secure a greater share of the benets of the export trade.34
For the purposes of this report, we develop a simple
methodology to illustrate the scale of the opportunities
facing countries across western Africa – and, by extension,
the extent of current losses. Using FAO criteria and applying
it to current trade ows, we estimate that 306,000 new jobs
– divided almost equally between shers and processors –
would be created in western Africa if the region took control
32. In Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, where sheries employ tens of thousands of poor people, aid has reached a maximum $57 million and $19 million in the
past decade, respectively, down 0.2% and 0.3% in the latest available year.
33. Institute for Security Studies: ‘Taking Back the Seas: Prospects for Africa’s blue economy’.
34. MRAG (2010) offers a case study on the economic impacts of illegal shing activities in Cape Verde, the Gambia and Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau
and Sierra Leone. According to their report, ‘The combined value added lost to countries (removed through illegal shing and not landed in-country) was $8 million
for the industrial case studies and $74 million for the artisanal case studies … Their industrial case studies covered a relatively small, but highly valuable, set of
sheries. If other industrial sheries are included, the total value added lost for industrial and artisanal sheries combined could be close to $300 million.
of the shing resources now in the hands of foreign investors
(see Table 2 in Annex).35
Additionally, our study reveals that:
There would be a nearly 10% increase in the total local
workforce of the western African sheries sector.
Around 90,000 more women would join the workforce,
triggering a domino effect of social and economic
benets for their families and societies.
If just a fraction of the sh caught by foreign eets were
to be consumed in local households, the impact on local
nutrition levels would be signicant.
Box 9: Local case study – Sierra Leone’s ‘blackfaces’
Usmane Kpanabum is the head of the Bohoi people, a tiny shing community located on the island of Sherbro on
the southern coast of Sierra Leone. A few days prior to this photo being taken, he had clashed with a ‘blackface’, the
term locals use to refer to a dozen massive South Korean trawlers which regularly approach the coast, destroying
their artisanal shing gear. They catch sh in the area, exhausting local shing stocks to the point of forcing the local
shermen to go further out to sea to try to nd sh, hugely increasing their costs.
He explains that these foreign vessels’ activities are illegal since they regularly penetrate the ve miles reserved for
artisanal shermen, and also because they catch juvenile sh and destroy the seabed, transhipping their catch onto
reefers without previously declaring them to the local authorities.
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources mandates that these vessels should carry observers on
board. However, the observers are paid by the shipowners, meaning that they do not get paid if they produce a negative
report. One of the observers, who refused to be named, conrmed this problem, adding that ‘these vessels are particularly
interested in capturing sea bass which can be found near the coast, they can only capture this sh illegally’.
Locals do not complain only about South Korean vessels. European, Russian and Japanese vessels all follow similar
patterns, operating unheeded off Sierra Leone’s coast thanks to the government’s inability to police its waters and
enforce anti-IUU legislation.
‘I miss the time of civil war,’ Kpanabum says.At least then the huge foreign shing vessels ed from here and we
had lots of sh.’
35. Briey summarised, the methodology employed by the FAO (de Graaf and Garibaldi, 2014) involves estimating the number of jobs created per tonne
of caught sh in different sectors and regions in Africa (see Table 1 in Annex). The resulting set of coefcients translates each tonne of sh caught in
different sectors and regions in Africa into the number of workers employed in shing and post-harvest activities. These coefcients, therefore, allow us to
estimate the number of artisanal and industrial sher and processing jobs that could be created were western African nations to take control of the shing
resources now being exploited by foreign nations.
30 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 31
5. Conclusions and
recommendations
There are compelling reasons for governments to curtail
IUU shing. On any measure of impact, overshing
has reached catastrophic levels, and IUU activities are
at the heart of the problem. Maintaining business as
usual confronts the world with the prospect of losing a
major source of protein, with loss of species and with
a deteriorating ocean environment. Governments have
endorsed many of the principles needed to underpin
sustainable resource management. Unfortunately, most
have failed to act on these principles. Far too often, the
interests and the lobbying power of commercial shery
operations have been allowed to trump commitments to
sustainable resource management, reinforcing a global
tragedy of the commons.
Nowhere is that tragedy more visible than in
western Africa. IUU shing is destroying livelihoods,
compromising food security and undermining prospects
for transformative growth on a regional scale. Reversing
the current cycle of destruction before shery stocks – and
the artisanal shing sector – are pushed beyond the point
of no return is a priority that demands the highest levels
of national political leadership, backed by strengthened
international cooperation.
The problems associated with tackling IUU shing are
well known. Navies and coastguards have been unable to
protect long coastlines and large expanses of ocean against
IUU encroachment. Strengthened Port States Measures,
more stringent regulation of ags of convenience, and
more effective enforcement of sustainability standards
by importers could make a difference. However, failure
to address the challenges posed by transhipping and the
use of containers for export is eroding the credibility and
effectiveness of multilateral rules.
The good news is that technologies now available
can provide the data needed to enforce more effective
governance. As we have shown in this report, satellite
data and transponders make it possible to track shing
vessels and reefers, alerting authorities to irregular and
suspicious activities – and to the presence of vessels in
prohibited areas. However, data alone will not solve
the IUU crisis. Even the best and most timely data will
only deliver results if governments are willing and able
enforce rules. In the case of western Africa, this will take
a signicant increase in naval and coastguard monitoring
capacity.
Based on the evidence set out in this report, we propose
eight measures that could make a difference. At the global
level:
Establish a global database and tracking system.
A global centralised IUU vessel database should
be created under FAO–IMO auspices, with full
accessibility for national authorities. All shing
vessels should also be required to carry a unique
ID registration number, making it harder to evade
detection. The vessel tracking information that we
provide in this report illustrates the possibilities. The
development of a global tracking system could be
nanced through a levy on commercial shery eets.
Automatic information-sharing systems should be
put in place to identify vessels engaged in suspicious
activity.
Prohibit transhipments at sea. Western African
countries should forbid transhipments at sea, following
the practice of Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. Special
derogations could be provided for ports that cannot
accommodate large reefers, with transhipments allowed
under closely monitored conditions near port facilities.
Vessels and operators that violate this ban should be
added to a blacklist to prevent repeated offences and to
deter non-compliance.
Close the IUU container loophole. Container ships
carrying sh should be subject to the same scrutiny and
reporting requirements as reefers and shing vessels.
This means container ships should be required to
inform port authorities of their intention to unload their
catch several days ahead of their arrival (to ensure that
monitoring arrangements can be put in place) and to
fully disclose and document details of their catch. Port
authorities should in turn use data tracking systems to
verify catch details.
Ban blacklisted IUU vessels. Vessels blacklisted for IUU
practices, together with their owners and operators,
should be prohibited from operating and registering
new vessels. Legal authorities should act swiftly to bar
blacklisted vessels and operators from the EEZs in
which IUU activities have occurred, and impose punitive
nes that generate powerful deterrent effects. In the
event that local action is not taken, legal authorities
in the jurisdiction of registration and/or substantive
ownership should take action. Interpol should be given
broad powers to prosecute and investigate IUU activities
and publish an IUU blacklist.
Establish IUU shing as a transnational crime. This
approach, championed by Norway, would bring IUU
activities under the remit of Interpol. This is particularly
necessary since, as we showed earlier, IUU shing is
directly linked to other types of crime, such as drug
trafcking, human trafcking and tax evasion.
At a regional level:
Improve transparency. African governments and their
trading partners should disclose in full the terms
of sheries agreements, including information on
quotas and prices, as well as any agreed licence and
charter agreements. Additionally, the FAO or another
international independent body should regularly
compare their declared catches with this information to
prevent any instances of underreporting.
Enhance port measures. Countries in western Africa
should immediately ratify the legally binding Port State
Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing
Agreement (PSMA), to strengthen the controls in ports
where the sheries catches are landed and reported. The
treaty was approved by the FAO in 2009 and came into
force on 5 June 2016 after being ratied by 30 countries
at the time of writing this report, but to date Gabon,
Guinea-Bissau and South Africa are the only countries
in the region to have ratied this agreement. Globally,
although the EU and the United States have ratied
this agreement, major shing nations like China, South
Korea and Russia have failed to do so.
Build regional capacity action. The international
community should scale up aid and technical support
for western African countries. The World Bank, the
African Development Bank and the FAO should
cooperate in supporting the development of capacity to
draw on global satellite tracking systems. Aid donors in
the EU and emerging markets – including China – with
large regional eets should provide support for the
purchase and operation of an expanded coastguard eet
to protect EEZs. Joint patrolling schemes could also
be established, with an initial focus on the two main
‘transhipment hubs’ in western Africa: around Guinea
and Guinea-Bissau, including Cape Verde, Senegal and
the Gambia, and another one in the Gulf of Guinea,
including Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, as identied
by UNODC. Additionally, western African navies need
to work more closely together to monitor and protect
their coastal waters, especially in inshore territorial
waters crucial to coastal sheries communities.
Strengthen regulation. Working in concert with Interpol,
the African Union should develop an IUU blacklist
for the whole continent. All governments in the
region should carefully review licensing arrangements
involving vessels registered under ags of convenience,
which are in some cases the equivalent of havens for
tax avoidance. Consideration should be given to the
imposition of a ag of convenience tax in sheries
agreements, with the revenues used to strengthen IUU
monitoring capabilities.
32 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 33
Annex: Brief methodology
Trade data and geographical scope of the report
All data regarding trade ows to and from western Africa
used in this report were extracted from the UN ComTrade
Database, using Harmonised System codes 0302, 0303 and
0304 which represent the bulk of the traded sh.36
The study encompasses the region of western Africa,
stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar to Cape Town,
and including the following countries: Morocco,
Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Cape
Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia,
Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon,
Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Principe, Gabon, the
Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola,
Namibia and South Africa.
We look at shing activity in the whole of western
Africa, which includes countries’ EEZs as well as the open
seas, as shown in Figure 4 below. Western African waters
fall under the FAO’s Eastern Central and South Eastern
Atlantic regions – shing areas 34 and 47 respectively as
shown in Figure 5 below.
Figure 4: Western African nations’ Exclusive Economic
Zones (EEZs)
Source: FishSpektrum, using Google Earth mapping
Figure 5: Eastern Central and South Eastern Atlantic
regions
Source: FishSpektrum, using Google Earth mapping37
36. Live sh (HS code 0301) was not included in this study as it is negligible in trade to and from western Africa. The same goes for HS codes 0305 (dried
sh), 0306 (crustaceans) and 0307 (molluscs).
37. Atlantic, Eastern Central (Major Fishing Area 34): The waters bounded by a line running from a point of the high-water mark of North Africa at 5°36’
west longitude; thence running in a southerly direction following the high-water mark along the coast of Africa to a point at Punta do Padrão at 6°04’36’
south latitude and 12°19’48’’ east longitude; thence along a rhumb line in a northwesterly direction to a point at 6°00’ south latitude and 12°00’
east longitude; thence due west along 6°00’ south latitude to 20°00’ west longitude; thence due north to the Equator; thence due west to 30°00’ west
longitude; thence due north to 5°00’ north latitude; thence due west to 40°00’ west longitude, thence due north to 36°00’ north latitude; thence due east
to Point Marroqui at 5°36’ west longitude and 36°00’ north latitude; thence due south to the original point on the African coast.
Atlantic, South Eastern (Major Fishing Area 47): The Southeast Atlantic comprises all the marine waters, bounded by a line beginning at a point on the
west coast of the African continent at 6°04’36’’ S latitude and 12°19’48’’ E longitude; thence running in a north westerly direction along a rhumb line to
a point at the intersection of the meridian 12°00’E with the parallel 6°00’S; thence due west along this parallel to the meridian 20°00’W; thence due south
along this meridian to the parallel 50°00’S, thence due east along this parallel to the meridian 30°00’E; thence due north along this meridian to the coast
of the African continent; thence in a westerly and northerly direction along the coast of Africa to the original point of departure.
Information used for job analysis and development impacts
Table 4: Employees per tonne of sh caught in marine sheries
Employees per tonne of fish caught in marine fisheries
Marine fisheries group Sub-sector
No. fishers per tonne No. processors per tonne
Male Female Male Female
Canary Current
Artisanal 0.22 0 0.02 0.09
Industrial 0.05 0 0.06 0.12
Guinea Current
Artisanal 0.38 0 0.17 0.6
Industrial 0.08 0 0.56 0.22
Benguela Current
Artisanal 0.66 0 0.26 0.2
Industrial 0.29 0 0.02 0.04
de Graaf and Garibaldi (2014) ‘The Value of African Fisheries’. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular. No. 1093
Western African countries included in each current
Atlantic Eastern Central
Canary Current Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Capo Verde, Guinea-Bissau
Guinea Current
Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria,
Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Principe, the Congo,
Democratic Republic of Congo
Atlantic Southeast Benguela Current Angola, Namibia, South Africa
Source: (FAO, 2014a).
Table 5: Job creation estimates for western Africa
Estimates of job creation38
Reported Catches non-Western African countries Fisher jobs Processor jobs
Country Fishing Area
Tonnes
(FAO Fishstat data) Subsector Male Female Male Female
France
Eastern Central 40.656,00
Artisanal 2439 0 386 1403
Industrial 2114 0 5041 2765
Southeast 0,00
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Greece
Eastern Central 905,00
Artisanal 54 0 9 31
Industrial 47 0 112 62
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Latvia
Eastern Central 52.820,00
Artisanal 3169 0 502 1822
Industrial 2747 0 6550 3592
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0 0 0 0
38. Should the region take control of the shing resources now in the hands of foreign investors, it cannot be assumed that the sh would instead mostly
be caught by artisanal shers. This is unfeasible given that much of the catch is taken offshore by trawlers and could not be caught inshore by artisanal
shers. As such, we have adopted a general split of 20% artisanal/80% industrial, which may be achievable given that much of the current foreign eet
catches include some shing close to shore.
34 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 35
Netherlands
Eastern Central 13.806,00
Artisanal 828 0 131 476
Industrial 718 0 1712 939
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Netherlands Antilles
Eastern Central 0,00
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Poland
Eastern Central 54.138,00
Artisanal 3248 0 514 1868
Industrial 2815 0 6713 3681
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Portugal
Eastern Central 6.027,00
Artisanal 362 0 57 208
Industrial 313 0 747 410
Southeast 593,00
Artisanal 36 0 6 20
Industrial 31 0 74 40
Mixed Flag (France and
Spain)
Eastern Central 0,00
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0 000
Industrial 0000
Spain
Eastern Central 144.595,00
Artisanal 8676 0 1374 4989
Industrial 7519 0 17930 9832
Southeast 28.639,00
Artisanal 1718 0 272 988
Industrial 1489 0 3551 1947
UK
Eastern Central 32,00
Artisanal 2001
Industrial 2042
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Belize
Eastern Central 17.000,00
Artisanal 1020 0 162 587
Industrial 884 0 2108 1156
Southeast 0,00
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Lithuania
Eastern Central 61.880,00
Artisanal 3713 0 588 2135
Industrial 3218 0 7673 4208
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0 000
Industrial 0000
Estimates of job creation (cont’d)
Reported Catches non-Western African countries Fisher jobs Processor jobs
Country Fishing Area
Tonnes
(FAO Fishstat data) Subsector Male Female Male Female
Estimates of job creation (cont’d)
Reported Catches non-Western African countries Fisher jobs Processor jobs
Country Fishing Area
Tonnes
(FAO Fishstat data) Subsector Male Female Male Female
Republic of Korea
Eastern Central 36.258,00
Artisanal 2175 0 344 1251
Industrial 1885 0 4496 2466
Southeast 6.775,00
Artisanal 407 0 64 234
Industrial 352 0 840 461
Russian Federation
Eastern Central 213.821,00
Artisanal 12829 0 2031 7377
Industrial 11119 0 26514 14540
Southeast 22.167,00
Artisanal 1330 0 211 765
Industrial 1153 0 2749 1507
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Eastern Central 15.900,00
Artisanal 954 0 151 549
Industrial 827 0 1972 1081
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines
Eastern Central 37.784,00
Artisanal 2267 0 359 1304
Industrial 1965 0 4685 2569
Southeast 0,00
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Taiwan
Eastern Central 5.184,00
Artisanal 311 0 49 179
Industrial 270 0 643 353
Southeast 15.486,00
Artisanal 929 0 147 534
Industrial 805 0 1920 1053
Ukraine
Eastern Central 22.562,00
Artisanal 1354 0 214 778
Industrial 1173 0 2798 1534
Southeast 0
Artisanal 0 000
Industrial 0000
Vanuatu
Eastern Central 122,00
Artisanal 7014
Industrial 6 0 15 8
Southeast 0,00
Artisanal 0000
Industrial 0000
Total 878.035,00 98404 0 117294 90057
98404 207352
305756
36 ODI Report
Western Africa’s missing sh 37
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... Foreign shing impeding seafood supply and shery sustainability African coastal waters include some of the world's most abundant shing grounds 14 . Due to the lack of capacity and infrastructure supporting the exploitation of sh resources before the 1980s, non-coastal states (mostly developed countries) often shed in African waters, largely free or by various agreements after EEZs were declared. ...
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