Source: The New York Times

How crucial are African fish reserves are being plundered from human use to feed pigs and poultry on Western factory farms?

So what’s the problem?

Women in the fish industries are losing their jobs and providing for their families due to the competition of giant felt exploiting for fish meal and fish oil.

The rising fishmeal and fish oil industry is removing tons of fish from the ocean to feed animals in the aquaculture industry. Over 40 million will be lost their jobs if this continues due to overfishing.

The West African coast is affluent in fish. Trawlers, particularly those flying the Russian flag, illegally scrape the bottom and catch much fish.

“We only have these jobs as fishermen; we are looking for a better life in this jobs, and gasoline, or diamonds; the sea is our only method to feed our family,” Ibrahima Sarr,  a fish trader and he is working in this sector for 20 years from now, and he sees how things are changing with years

Port de Nouakchott is one of several market fish facilities in Nouakchott, Mauritania, a coastal town and the capital city of Mauritania, part of a fishing sector that employs almost eight hundred people distributes dried fish to many more across West Africa.

“Five hundred fishermen and woman as a fish seller work here,” Sarr explains. ” We carry what we gain to feed our families and make houses.

” Foreign fleet example Chinese are already all over the world, and the business simply would not be sustainable without these subsidies,” said Li Shuo. “The impact has been disastrous for Senegal and other West African countries.”

More than 300 fishmeal industries have been established along West Africa owned by foreigners in recent years more planned as businesspeople come to the region in search of inexpensive fish species to make it as an animal feed and also foreigners fleet which is overexploiting the sea intensively and impacting the livelihood of fishers also which will also impact lack of fish and increase of the price of fish in the local market for the population. 

According to FAO, 90 per cent of the global fisheries data are completely exploited or on the verge of collapse due to overfishiExperts say that unsustainable fishing methods, from foreign giant boats are overexploiting the sea and not respecting some policies, threatening the lives of millions of people in developing nations who rely on the ocean for money and food.

As said Dr Cisse, ‘ The industry of fish meal and oil are being supported by the government and companies, while they are robbing the local populations.’’

Source: Jim Wickens

To properly understand how fish meal and fish oil is impacting the livelihood of the population, we should get back to ten years ago before these industries settled in West Africa; in the past, fish was everywhere affordable and cheap. When I was a kid, I can remember there was a lot of fish and even giant fish. But now it is the opposite situation, sometimes even there is no even fish in the market. Fishers are expanding their efforts and budget to go to find fish. Still, they come back with small fishes, which is typically prohibited because small fish usually are not allowed to be fished because fisheries management utilises size limits to enhance the quantity of fish in the sea, the number of enormous fish, or offer fishers with desirable fishing experiences. Size restrictions can boost the massive amount of fish in a body of water. We should know that we have one of the richest coasts in West Africa, and the fish consumption of the population is still low. The initiative should be taken because seeing those data in West Africa is a severe problem, and we should talk about it.

Source: Jim Wickens

Mauritania now has 28 fishmeal facilities, twice Senegal’s, with other investors coming to settle the fishmeal industries in the coming years. With the lack of fishery management policy to ensure a sustainable fish stock. Ensuring this fish stock to be more sustainable, the governement should take the initiative by implementing procedures that will benefit the livelihoods of fishers and the population while prioritising the fishermen because they are the ones feeding people government in the local markets.

” We should understand that all this pressure must be reduced and can’t be handled in a few years”, Dr Samba adds, before adding quietly, “Without sardines, in a country like Senegal, there will be a revolution.”

What can we do?

Since we know that the growth of the fish industries businesses opposes several SDGs, including those UN regulations, poverty reduction food safety, and fish workers providing jobs and affordable animal protein to West Africa’s poorest inhabitants, especially those in those countries without a coast, millions of people may suffer from poverty and malnutrition as a result of the unequal competition for fresh fish between West African communities and the fishmeal and fish oil industries; It’s time to step up our efforts. We should stand up for women and communities by calling for an end to the West African fishmeal and fish oil industries by calling the government to create policies that will be beneficial for the livelihood of fish workers, which will bring a positive impact on the population, having a fresh fish at an affordable it’s suitable for the people. Now is the moment to take action. Speak up in one voice for West African women fish processors.


  1. REMA. (2009). Current Status of Forestry Resources in Rwanda. Current Status of Forestry Resources in Rwanda, IV, 6.
  2. Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. (2021). Census of Mountain Gorilla Population Shows Numbers Continue to Rise. Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Retrieved 03 28, 2021, from,mountain%20gorillas%20is%20now%201%2C063
  3. African Wildlife Foundation. (2021). Volcanoes National Park: a success story for Rwanda’s communities and conservation. AWF. Retrieved 03 28, 2021, from
  4. GGGI. (2021). Reducing operation costs and creating green jobs post COVID-19 Pandemic for the affected tourism industry in Rwanda. GGGI. Retrieved 03 28, 2021, from
  5. Volcanoes National park. (2021). Park Entrance For Volcanoes National park. Volcanoes National Park. Retrieved 03 28, 2021, from
  6. Wilson, J. and Primack, R. (2019). Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa. [online] Openbookpublishers. Available at: [Accessed 28 Feb. 2020].