IUU fishing in Africa: international organizations lodge complaints against Italy in the EU

The Coalition for Fair Fisheries Agreements (CAPE), the
African Confederation of Fisheries Professional Organizations
(CAOPA), the Regional Partnership for Conservation
Coastal and Marine (PRCM), Danish Living Seas and Bloom have
jointly filed a complaint with the European Union (EU),
asking the European Commission to initiate a procedure
offense against Italy.

By Assane DEME

In a statement we received on Wednesday at the APS, these
organizations argue that the Italian fisheries authorities
have not complied with their obligations under the common policy
Fisheries (PCP), to control and punish illegal activities
of Italian trawlers in Sierra Leone waters.

” These vessels made incursions into the coastal zone
reserved for small-scale fishing, capturing species they were not
not allowed to catch and tranship without authorization ”,
it is stressed in the statement that makes note that Italy that closes
eyes on the illegal activities of its trawlers in Africa from

According to the authors of this complaint, these Italian ships have
history of illegal activities in the region, documented by
Greenpeace, Océana and CAPE and related to the capture of sharks and
infringement of the attached fins rule, incursions
in the waters of neighboring countries of West Africa, the
fishing with a prohibited fishing gear in The Gambia.

For Gaoussou Gueye, president of CAOPA, ” when she goes to
our countries, the EU still talks about the importance of combating
illegal fishing, arguing that European fleets fish
legally and sustainably. Nevertheless, some ships
European fisheries in a way that is far from sustainable or even
outright illegal, just like what Italian trawlers do
for years in West Africa, ‘he denounced.

According to Guèye, if the EU wants to remain credible and establish a relationship
of confidence with African countries, it should not accept a
such behavior on the part of certain fishing vessels of one of its
Member States.

According to these organizations, ” these Italian trawlers must be
supervised and duly sanctioned if they do not respect the laws of
our countries or those of the common European fisheries policy.
Belonging to two Sicilian companies, these Italian trawlers
never been subject to any control by Italy, their State
flag, and even less sanctioned by the latter for their
illegal fishing activities ”.

” In December 2016, an infringement procedure was opened by the
European Commission against Italy for some of these
unlawful activities in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau, but to date
more than two years later, this infringement procedure is in
died, ‘regretted the complainants.

While the European Union defends sustainable fishing and claims to lead
the fight against IUU fishing (illegal, unreported and unreported
at the global level, they consider it “unacceptable”
that it leaves certain vessels flying the flag of one of its
Member States to conduct IUU activities in the waters of African countries
impunity. “The EU must act now,” they said.


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