Defenders of the Sea

In February 2016 activists chased a notorious illegal fishing vessel into the port of Dakar, Senegal. The capture of the vessel on Interpol’s most wanted list was a victory for global cooperation in a country with some of the most progressive fishing laws in Africa.

West Africa’s fisheries are some of the most exploited in the world with the highest instances of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) globally. In response, Senegal made significant steps within the past four years to stymie illegal fishing and promote sustainability with the aid of community organizing, government policies, environmentalists and international support.

However, local fishers’ associations, the government and activists face threats of violence and a lack of resources to protect their seas. These defenders of the sea are vital for protecting the overfished waters from foreign and national vessels ignoring the law.