Photo: Dos Winkel

African coasts are fished empty

Industrial catch

Along the coast of Senegal, prawns are fished and flown out the same day to the superior Spanish and other fish markets around the Mediterranean. These countries pay the highest price for prawns, with a preference for prawns that come from their own seas. But there are no longer sufficient of these. The unsuspecting tourist on the Spanish coast enjoys his paella with prawns, in France they enjoy them in their ‘fruits de mer’ and in Italy in their linguini with ‘fruits de mer’, etc. Just 15% of the catch pulled up by prawn fishers in African waters are actually prawns, the rest are bycatch that usually do not sell. Young sea bass and sea bream are the species most threatened by this. In 1983, 19 French ships caught 150,000 kilos of prawns along the Senegal coast. Today catches do not exceed 40,000 kilos. The African population, who miss out on the catch, are a kilo or two lighter due to it.