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Overfishing in West Africa leaves industry in crisis
June 22, 2017, 1:23 pm

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) says that more than half of West Africa's fisheries are dangerously depleted due to overfishing in the waters off the region’s coast.

Senegalese fishermen say that while previously they had to spend only a week at sea to have all the fish they needed, they now have to spend twice as long and travel much farther which means they have to carry more fuel and this added cost is cutting into their earnings.

Local officials in Senegal blame foreign-owned industrial boats that have depleted fish stocks and destroyed marine habitats. They point out that a local fish called ‘thiof’ has now become elusive because these fish which are found among rocks no longer have a habitat as they have been destroyed by big industrial fishing boats.
The officials admit that under-regulated fishing by locals has also contributed to the problem and the government was making an effort to streamline local fishing operations.    

Fish is the economic backbone of many Senegalese towns. The day's catch is taken to the local smokehouse, turned into fish meal for export abroad or sold fresh at the market, where knife-wielding female vendors prep the fish for sale.

Scarcity has driven up the prices. The price of thiof per kilogram has doubled in the past five years, local officials said. The impact of overfishing is felt in households. The wife of the fishing wharf manager, Coumba Ndiaye, said that for the family's evening Ramadan meal, she had to make due with sardinella because she could not get an affordable thiof at the market.

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