Call on West African governments to phase out fishmeal and fish oil industry

A Greenpeace Africa study suggests that the regional fish stocks essential to food security and livelihoods of communities in West Africa are under threat from the wasteful and expanding fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) industry in Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia.

June 26, 2019

Greenpeace is calling on West African governments to immediately phase out the wasteful fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) industry, to stop the threat to regional fish stocks essential for the food security and livelihoods of local people. It was outlined in a Greenpeace International report entitled ‘A waste of fish: Food security under threat from the fishmeal and fish oil industry in West Africa’ that raises concerns about the expanding FMFO industry in Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. All three species of fish used for FMFO are essential for food security, and already overexploited.

Greenpeace has found 50 operational FMFO factories in the region, 40 of which were active in March 2019. The majority of West African FMFO is destined for overseas markets, largely Asia and the EU. Exports of FMFO from Mauritania have doubled between 2014 and 2018, making this country now the largest exporter of fishmeal and fish oil in the region. In 2017, it was estimated that nearly 550,000 tons of pelagic fish were harvested to supply FMFO processing plants in Mauritania.

Greenpeace stated that the growing FMFO industry is not only threatening regional fish stocks but affecting livelihoods and food security. About 80 % of fish landings in Senegal come from the artisanal sector, and fish provides around 70% of the population’s animal protein needs, and over 50% of protein needs in The Gambia.

Greenpeace Africa calls on West African governments and companies to face their responsibilities in the much-needed protection of regional fish stocks, as well as prioritize basic human rights.


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