European Commission warning to Senegal will further strengthen the fight against illegal fishing
May 28, 2024

European Commission warning to Senegal will further strengthen the fight against illegal fishing

By EJF Staff

Yesterday, the European Commission warned the Senegalese authorities that Senegal risks being listed as a non-cooperating third country in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The European Union has issued a 'yellow card' to Senegal, highlighting “serious shortcomings identified in recent years in the system put in place by the country to comply with its international obligations”. This decision is supported by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), which has been actively supporting participatory monitoring in Senegal for the past three years and has noted recent positive fisheries reform in the country.

EJF focuses in particular on the fight against the encroachment of industrial trawlers into areas reserved for artisanal fishermen, as well as the suspicious use of the port of Dakar by distant-water fishing vessels potentially involved in IUU fishing activities. The organisation also insists on the need to remove the opacity surrounding the Senegalese fisheries sector, particularly with regard to foreign-owned Senegalese trawlers.

Steve Trent, CEO and Founder of EJF, said: “The recent presidential elections in March 2024 have brought a new political dynamic to Senegal. The new generation of leaders did not cause the crisis in Senegal's fisheries, but they can end it. The clear commitments made during the election campaign, such as promoting transparency, reviewing which vessels can fish under the Senegalese flag, assessing the conditions of access to Senegalese waters, protecting small-scale fisheries and strengthening national fisheries management systems and the fight against IUU fishing, were a strong start.”

“Since taking office, the new government has made swift progress, in particular the publication of licence lists and the prospect of revising the Maritime Fisheries Code. The European Commission's decision provides an opportunity to build on this momentum and promote good governance in such a vital sector for Senegal’s people and economy.”

EJF strongly recommends enshrining the Global Charter for Fisheries Transparency into national law and the application of the principles of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative. These measures will help to achieve the goals set by the new political leadership and deliver a safe, sustainable ocean. Fitting the vision of His Excellency the President of the Republic, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, EJF expresses its determination and commitment to work with the Senegalese authorities to achieve sustainable and transparent management of the country's fisheries resources.


Notes to editors

The Commission has issued this warning under EU Regulation 1005/2008, which aims to “prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing”, and includes the so-called ‘carding system’.

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