Research by Greenpeace Africa found the amount of fish extracted from the region by industrial vessels to be ground up for use in agriculture and aquaculture could feed 33 million people each year. The two organisations are calling for a ban on fish fit for human consumption being used for fishmeal and oil, and for small-scale local fisherman and processors to be given a formal legal status to protect their rights to their fisheries. Greenpeace and the Netherlands-based organisation Changing Markets are calling for a ban on fish fit for human consumption being used for fishmeal and oil.
The industry is causing devastation among coastal communities in Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia. The extraction is placing millions of people at risk of food insecurity, and putting local, small-scale fishermen and those involved in smoking and drying the catch out of work. Processing plants generating fishmeal and fish oil have also been blamed for a sharp rise in air pollution and contaminating waterways close to their sites.
Globally, 69 per cent of fishmeal and 75 per cent of fish oil is used for aquafeed to produce farmed fish, such as salmon. A large proportion of the remaining fishmeal is used in agriculture, predominantly for pig feed. As well as farming, it is also commonly used in dietary supplements, pet food and in cosmetics
“The fishmeal and fish oil industry, as well as all governments and companies supporting them, are basically robbing local populations of livelihoods and food in contradiction with international commitments on sustainable development, poverty alleviation, food security, and gender equality,” Greenpeace Africa senior campaigner Dr Ibrahime Cisse said.
Changing Markets campaigns manager Alice Delemare Tangpuori said: “European aquafeed companies and retailers can no longer ignore this major human rights and environmental issue. Now is the time to rethink supply chains and rapidly phase out the use of wild-caught fish in farmed fish and other animals, to preserve these fish populations for future generations.”