Global Fishing Watch Commends Senegal’s Publication of Fishing Vessel List

Program manager for West and Central Africa, Dame Mboup, applauds Senegalese Ministry’s latest move towards greater transparency. But, he adds, more can still be done.

May 21, 2024

DAKAR, Senegal – The Government of Senegal’s decision to publish the list of vessels authorized to fish in its national waters is a welcome and much-needed measure towards a more sustainable and transparent management of the country’s marine resources.

Global Fishing Watch CEO Tony Long recently celebrated the decision calling it a “courageous and critical” step towards achieving “a better ocean future for all.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

Because when we talk about transparency of marine resources, we are also talking about preserving individual livelihoods, national economies and our collective ocean ecosystem.

In Africa, fisheries and aquaculture are central to well-being. They directly contribute US$24 billion to the African economy while more than 7 million people across the West Africa region rely on fishing for their livelihoods. In Senegal alone, fish account for 80 percent of the population’s annual protein intake.

Nevertheless, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains rampant across West Africa, with 40 percent of fish caught illegally, the highest level of any region in the world.

This needs to stop.

That is why Global Fishing Watch is proud to have supported the Government of Senegal with key recommendations that facilitated this momentous decision.

And it’s also why we must encourage them to continue the great work already undertaken and build upon that foundation to:

  • Mandate all industrial-sized vessels in its waters to publicly transmit their location and allow the monitoring of their activities, to ensure a successful monitoring, control and surveillance of Senegal’s maritime resources.

  • Require the disclosure of a vessel’s ultimate beneficial ownership, making that information publicly available, along with its registered owner and operator, so that any IUU fishing can be appropriately sanctioned should violations occur.

  • Continue to refine policies and procedures to help implement the Port State Measures Agreement and establish robust data sharing agreements with other regional stakeholders. Open information, like Senegal’s authorization list, can arm inspectors across the region with the ability to make rapid assessment of the illegal fishing risk before product enters supply chains.

I applaud the Government of Senegal’s bold and decisive step to bring greater transparency to their waters and the way they’re managed. And I know that by working together we can effectively meet our vision to reduce IUU fishing, better enforce the rights of small-scale fishers, and improve designation and management of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

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