A number of Senegalese fisheries stakeholders, including artisanal fishermen, industrial vessel operators and civil society organisations have all protested against the intention of the government to issue 52 fishing licenses to vessels of Chinese and Turkish origin.
According to Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA), while Senegal is facing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry of fisheries consulted the Senegalese consultative committee (CCAL), a body with key fisheries stakeholders’ representation, concerning these 52 fishing licences. This is the largest list of fishing licences to be requested at once.
Senegalese civil society body APRAPAM published a statement highlighting that if these licences are granted, it would increase the fishing pressure, threaten sustainability and the livelihoods of artisanal fishing communities which are already suffering from the restrictions in place to fight the Coronavirus epidemic.
At the same time, artisanal fisheries organisations have written to the minister if fisheries demanding the postponing of the examination of the licences by underlining several concerns regarding the procedure but also on the licence demands.
Senegalese fishing vessel operators also sent an open letter to the minister, highlighting similar concerns.
Fifteen vessels of Chinese origin and two seiners of Turkish origin have requested licences to fish small pelagics, an already heavily exploited resource, especially sardinella, which is a key resource for artisanal fisheries and a staple food in the whole of West Africa.
There are also 36 licence requests for hake, another already heavily exploited resource, and a stock that is also shared with other countries in the region.