Africa’s Fisheries’ Paradise at a Crossroads: Investigating Chinese Companies’ Illegal Fishing Practices in West Africa

Yu Feng a Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel suspected of illegal fishing activity. Photo: US Coast Guard / Shawn Eggert

Many economically disadvantaged West African states have formed agreements with Chinese fishing companies to profit from untapped fishing opportunities throughout West Africa. However, a lack of transparency, law enforcement mechanisms, personnel and funding have enabled Chinese companies to exploit West Africa’s marine resources, taking advantage of loopholes that plague the industry.  This illegal activity not only damages marine life, it upsets local economies, pushing artisanal fisherman to farther locations in search of adequate amounts of fish. Chinese companies, West African governments and the international community must be incentivized to maintain marine resources for long-term use, benefiting all stakeholders.

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Security Topics: Maritime Security