reportage Troubled Waters
In theory, the foreign fleets are obliged to observe a six-mile coastal exclusion zone, which should help to protect the seaboard villagers' livelihood. But in practice, the trade between North and South has also seen the industrialised fleets selling their old ships on to unscrupulous local operators who, under a flag of convenience, ignore such restrictions and fish more or less unchecked inside the six-mile zone.

At the same time, drought in the Sahel has brought more and more people to the seaside villages. There are now some 30,000 Senegalese fishermen struggling to make a living in their pirogues,the small indigenous fishing boats. Increasingly, they are having to venture further afield or sell their labour to the foreign fleets. The fishermen formed a union in 1991, which has been partially successful in protecting their interests, at least from the worst profiteering of the merchants with whom they have to deal.
Spring 1997 | Gideon Mendel (Network) and related links | Archive | Back | Next | 7 of 10