When the Senegalese Navy arrested a Russian vessel for illegal fishing in its waters in recent weeks, it did more than make international news: It showcased a CRC-generated report on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
A BBC report last week on the ship capture quoted the West African nation’s Fisheries Minister, who cited the IUU report researched and published by the USAID/COMFISH project implemented by CRC. That report, published in May 2013 and prepared through a partnership with the University of British Columbia The Sea Around Us project, was presented to the Senegalese government as an objective study of IUU fishing. In Senegal IUU fishing accounts for an estimated 350,000 metric tons of fish per year, equal to the nation’s total annual legal catch. These fishing methods contribute to over-exploitation of Senegal’s fishing stocks and rob the nation of US $292 million annually.
Based on a year of data collection, the report has helped inform the government of Senegal of the facts surrounding IUU fishing and to inform the fisheries management planning process. The document was presented at a national marine fisheries workshop in Senegal in June 2013 and was officially transferred to a Technical Committee of the government of Senegal, along with another USAID/COMFISH report on fish catch outside of Senegal’s exclusive economic zone. Senegal’s Marine Fisheries Department cited the IUU report in its announcement in December of an action plan and national strategy on IUU.
“The fact that the report is being used as a source and to justify the position of the government’s actions speaks well of the document,” said James Tobey, USAID/COMFISH project manager at CRC. “IUU is now seen by the government of Senegal as a reality, and the Minister of Fisheries has taken a firm decision to confront it.”