Securing a Better Future for the Oceans and for People

Mamadou Sarr is a 54-year old Senegalese artisanal fisherman who has been working at sea for more than 36 years. He entered the profession out of his love for fishing and the ocean, and has been supporting a family of eight with his daily catches.

Greenpeace met him at Ouakam, a fishing village on the outskirts of Dakar, where he shared his story with our local activists. “If nothing is done to reverse the negative impacts of foreign vessels in Senegalese waters,” he said, “I will lose my job.”

Foreign vessels have been plundering the waters of West Africa for decades to stock the fish markets of Europe and Asia. Industrial fishing is depriving West African people of a vital source of protein and pushing thousands of locals into poverty and despair.

To understand the scale of the problem, the Greenpeace ship Artic Sunrise sailed the waters off Senegal and Mauritania, in 2010, and documented 126 large fishing vessels and four refrigerated ships used for transporting the catches. It is a continuing problem: last month, Greenpeace exposed Chinese fishing companies, which are emptying the seas of fish off Senegal, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

The question was how to draw attention to the plunder of West African fisheries. Greenpeace Africa, through our office in Dakar, Senegal, built up close relationships with coastal communities and fish workers in the country.

Their stories have proved to be as powerful and inspiring as they have been educational — from their testimonies of the massive change in state of the ocean over the years to their current struggles to support their families. These are stories that deserve to be broadcast far and wide, so that what has been out of sight for many people no longer remains out of mind.

Just weeks before 2012’s —> Read More