This week as our crew on the Arctic Sunrise highlights the mass plundering taking place at sea by European super trawlers in West Africa; our team on land in Senegal and Mauritania have met some of the communities who have been affected by this modern day pillage.
They met local fishermen who are forced to go further out to sea in their traditional boats as their local waters have been dramatically overfished by foreign vessels. Some of these trawlers - many from Europe - are literally floating fish factories, capable of catching, processing and freezing 250 tonnes a day.
In contrast local fishermen in their traditional pirogue boats, are putting their lives in dangers to catch enough fish to feed their families and pull together a basic livelihood. To make matters worse, according to local fishermen, these super trawlers sometimes illegally fish in their zone close to the coast, without lights. Just recently two fishermen in Mauritania were killed when their boat collided with a European trawler.
Last year in the UK, as part of our Africa Voices tour, UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon met fishermen from Senegal, Mauritania and Cape Verde and was really moved by their stories. He has since referred to them in a number of speeches, and it is partly why he is so committed to making sure the laws that govern EU vessels in distant waters do not negatively impact on local people lives.
We are now urging Richard Benyon to show leadership in Europe by calling for reform that stops the European fleet from destroying these communities who rely on them on these fish to survive.