2 February 2024

Off West Africa, the sea is teeming with fish. Sardines, mackerel, groupers, which are basic ingredients of local cuisine, from Senegal to Cameroon. For how much longer ? Massively fished and immediately exported to neighboring countries or to the other side of the globe, these “small pelagics” are gradually disappearing from African stalls and from the plates of the most modest consumers. In Senegal, the price of flat sardinella doubled between 2015 and 2022. Consumption is collapsing: in ten years the consumption of small fish per capita has been halved.

In 2019, Greenpeace estimated that 500,000 tons of these small fish were caught off Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania to be processed into meals and oils. Four years later, the trend is far from reversing.

The World Africa was able to film in Senegal the effects of this intensive industrial fishing, widely practiced by large Asian, Turkish and Russian fleets in West African waters. A sometimes illegal overfishing that jeopardizes food security in West Africa.

Among the sources of this video:

Climate variability and food security in Africa: the case of small pelagics in West Africa

Feeding the Monster: How Europe’s Aquaculture and Animal Feed Industries Are Diverting Food from West African Communities. Greenpeace.

In the meshes of the net. Changing Markets Foundation.

Public policies to support artisanal fishing in Senegal: Between inconsistency and perverse effects. El hadj Bara Deme, Pierre Failler.

Dynamics of small pelagic fish (Sardinella aurita and Ethmalosa fimbriata) in Senegal in a context of climate change: diagnosis and bio-ecological synthesis. Bocar Sabaly Balde.

The Small Pelagic Value Chain in Mauritania – Recent Changes and Impacts on Food Security.

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