Val Kharchenko (Greenpeace) Ze Fortes (footballer) and Gabrielle Manrique (documentary maker)
Our guest blogger, Gabriel Manrique, is an independent documentary filmmaker who
focuses on social and environmental issues and the co-director of
‘Sandgrains’. He joined the crew of the Arctic Sunrise last month.
our Greenpeace liaison in Senegal, had skillfully navigated us through Dakar
customs, and we were on the tarmac to board a helicopter which would take us to
the Arctic Sunrise. I had flown by chopper only once before and was keenly
looking forward to filming from one, but had no idea how much fun it would be.
Artisanal fishing boat 40 miles off the coast of Mauritania
Approximately 1.5 MILLION small-scale fishermen live and work along the coast of West Africa. They live a life directly dependent on the seas on their doorstep. And it's not just them - their families and communities depend on it too, of course. Yet here in the seas off West Africa it's clear to see their interests are being ignored in favour of allowing massive, industrialised, factory fishing vessels to gobble up all the fish. Of course some of this is illicit, but much of it is legitimised plunder, such as the huge PFA vessels down here with EU subsidies and paid-for Fisheries Partnership Agreements.
Greenpeace activists paint 'Plunder' on the side of a Lithuanian super trawler
We’re currently following a stern
trawler as it fishes. It’s not the biggest vessel out here, but, like many
others it is fishing up and down where the shallow continental shelf meets
deeper waters. That there is fish in these waters there is no doubt, and proved
by the birds, whales and dolphins we encounter here, as well as the fishing
UK registered supertrawler Cornelis Vrolijk fishing off Mauritania
I’m out in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere off Mauritania in West
Africa, aboard the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise. We’re here to document
and expose the shocking overfishing of Africa’s coastal seas by huge fishing
vessels from the EU and elsewhere.
Last year Richard Benyon met with Greenpeace and a delegation of West African fishermen
EU council meetings are rarely something that the vast majority of
us get excited about. These meetings are when the representatives from each of
the EU governments get together, to discuss specific topics. Usually it’s the
relevant minister who goes, but they are effectively deputising for their