12 / 1994
Although the history of the Lome Convention dates back to 1975, fisheries agreements were given attention only from Lome III onwards (1983). Under these agreements, the European fleet were given access to the vast fisheries potential of the ACP countries. These agreements, it is feared, do not lead to medium term or long-term fisheries development of the small-scale sector, particularly in West Africa. Although the agreement under Lome III stipulated contributing to fisheries development and strengthening of food security, nutritional and rural living standards, the artisanal fishermen of Senegal feel that they have lost out on the bargain.
There have been numerous reported instances of destruction of fishing gear by the industrial vessels from Europe. In northern Sierra Leone for example, approximately 78 % of artisanal fishermen claimed that they had lost gear to trawlers when a survey of 38 fishing villages was undertaken in 1987.
Most of the fish caught by the industrial vessels of Europe are destined for the export market and not for domestic consumption. The industrial fisheries sector does not provide any substantive employment opportunities. On the contrary, it decimates the potential fish stocks available to the artisanal fishery. The main interest of the EEC is to secure fishing grounds for its member states in order to prevent dislocation of its distant water fishing vessels and related problems of domestic unemployment.
The artisanal fisheries sector of the ACP countries is poorly organised and generally under-represented at the local, national and international forums. There development potential is often underestimated. The ACP fisheries policy has further worsened the chances of its development.
The document is useful in the campaign against the fisheries agreements under the Lome Convention. It is the first attempt to put together valuable information which could substantially improve the bargaining power of the artisanal fishworkers of the ACP countries.
This card has been translated into French under the following title : "la convention de Lomé et les accords de pêche", MFN 3346.
Articles and files
ICSF=INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIVE IN SUPPORT OF FISHWORKERS, ICSF, 1991/05/01 (INDIA), N°4