Home World How overseas overfishing is driving migration disaster in Senegal : NPR

How overseas overfishing is driving migration disaster in Senegal : NPR



NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with environmental scientist Dyhia Belhabib about overfishing in Senegal.


Once I was within the Senegalese fishing city of Kayar, on the west coast of Africa just a few months in the past, I sat on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean with a fisherman named Serigne Mou Diop.

(Talking Wolof).

SHAPIRO: “This time of yr, we used to catch a lot of sardines,” he instructed me. “Now, it has been 10 years since we have seen them.”

When fishermen in a fishing city cannot make a residing, they usually look overseas for alternatives. Immediately at npr.org, we have launched a sweeping undertaking the place you may take the journey many males like him make, touring from Senegal to Morocco to Spain. A few of our reporting depends on analysis by environmental scientist Dyhia Belhabib, whose work focuses on unlawful fishing.



SHAPIRO: So many fishermen in Senegal instructed me they’d seen catches plummet within the final 10 or 20 years, and so they blamed what they known as overseas trawlers from China or Europe. What does that phrase really imply? Who’re these overseas trawlers?

BELHABIB: International trawlers are principally huge boats, large boats, a few of that are the identical measurement as a soccer discipline, for reference, that are available from different international locations and catch the identical fish than these Senegalese fishermen do. So in essence, they’re principally competing for a similar fish.

SHAPIRO: And the coastlines in Senegal are stuffed with wood boats known as pirogues, which individuals exit to catch fish day-after-day. Are you able to give us a way of how a lot fish a pirogue can catch in comparison with a trawler?

BELHABIB: Let’s simply say that these pirogues are very, very small in comparison with these trawlers, and so they can principally catch 300 occasions greater than all of the pirogue can catch.

SHAPIRO: 300 occasions?

BELHABIB: Sure. So a trawler can principally catch the identical quantity of fish than a pirogue might catch in a single yr.

SHAPIRO: A yr versus…


SHAPIRO: …Like, one fishing journey.

BELHABIB: Precisely.

SHAPIRO: Now, international locations in West Africa have signed fishing agreements with overseas governments. So are these overseas trawlers working legally or illegally?

BELHABIB: Nicely, it relies upon, as a result of there are some trawlers that function utterly legally. There are some trawlers which can be licensed to fish there, however they nonetheless form of don’t adjust to the rules which can be meant for sustainability. After which you’ve gotten trawlers that function utterly illegally regardless of the existence of agreements with different international locations.

SHAPIRO: What does unlawful fishing appear to be? How does that really occur?

BELHABIB: There are many sorts of unlawful fishing. So inherently, you’ve gotten a trawler that isn’t licensed to fish inside these waters that is available in, which we name an incursion, takes fish away and leaves. And that’s with no authorization and no data of the native authorities. And you’ve got others which can be licensed, however they could use a distinct gear. They could go into what we name an artisanal zone, which is a restricted space for the artisanal sector, and fish there, which continues to be unlawful fishing. And but they nonetheless have an authorization to fish. So it is a matter of you having a driving license, if you’ll, however then consuming and driving. Yeah.

SHAPIRO: The boats that these fishermen use to catch their fish are the identical boats, in lots of instances, that migrants use to make the journey to Europe. And so many individuals instructed us about European patrols in Senegalese water to cease these pirogues from leaving – Spanish navy boats really intercepting these pirogues. Why hasn’t the worldwide neighborhood put the identical effort into defending the fisheries in order that a few of these individuals in Senegal may be capable of keep the place they’re?

BELHABIB: It is ironic – is not it? – as a result of they take their fish away, however they don’t seem to be taking their individuals in there. In order we regularly say, fish doesn’t want a visa. On this specific case, the migrations, or the unlawful migrations, have an effect on Europe, however the fish that’s entering into there, albeit illegally typically, doesn’t have the identical influence, au contraire.

SHAPIRO: Environmental scientist Dyhia Belhabib, thanks a lot.

BELHABIB: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

SHAPIRO: Her analysis helped inform our immersive digital undertaking following the journey from Senegal to Morocco to Spain, which yow will discover at npr.org.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for additional data.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its closing type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could fluctuate. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here