The oceans off West Africa are teeming with life. Fish is a staple of many diets in the region and accounts for the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands in countries like Senegal and Sierra Leone.
But their way of life is increasingly under threat, as far from the shore, industrial vessels trawl in huge quantities of fish illegally. Locals are turning to social media to blame their governments for their lack of action and failure to enforce sanctions.
“From the way the deputy minister is talking, he is ignorant about the ministry he is ministering. A deliberate attempt to destroy this country.” Youtube comment on JoyNews report.
Ghanaian frustration also boiled over on Twitter with many accusing the government of failing to tax the fishing industry properly, causing even greater economic hardship. Some noted that lack of fish stocks due to overfishing has reached a point where Ghana must now import fish to make up for the deficit.
Greenpeace describes the situation as a "Wild West in Africa's oceans", as they track industrial fishing fleets, who haul in vast catches, take specific species and discard the rest. Which leaves locals scrabbling for scraps and the seas filled with dead cast offs. FRANCE 24 reported from the Esperanza, the ship tasked with investigating the crisis.
“This is such a waste of resources, in an area where people are trying to make an income, and they throw big fish overboard because it’s not profitable for them.” Pavel Klinkhamers - Campaign Leader Greenpeace.