Africa is home to some of the world’s richest tuna grounds. It is also home to over 25 species of sharks, including the critically endangered smalltooth and largetooth sawfish and the endangered whale shark, zebra shark, and hammerhead shark, as well as the blue whale, the West African manatee, and the Atlantic hump-backed dolphin.
More than 50% of the fisheries resources in the stretch of coast ranging from Senegal to Nigeria alone have already been overfished according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Many of the Coastal States in that stretch of coast do not have patrol vessels of their own.
Africa IUU fishing accounts for an estimated 40 percent of fish caught – the highest level worldwide.
Given that in many African countries, fish provide more than 60% of animal protein and in coastal communities almost 100% of these proteins, IUU fishing is a serious threat to the people who depend on the sea for their survival.
There are four IUU issues of special concern for Africa:
Unlicensed foreign industrial vessels
Fishing in prohibited areas, particularly close to shore, using illegal nets
Unreported catch and by-catch by legal operators. It is the single greatest threat to cetaceans, with over 300,000 whales and dolphins killed through entanglement annually.