Target: Han Changfu, Minister of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China
Goal: Remove illegal Chinese fishing vessels from depleted West African waters.
Chinese companies are fishing illegally in West African waters, according to a study recently released by Greenpeace. According to the report, the number of Chinese fishing boats in African waters has risen dramatically in past decades, with nearly 500 boats reported in 2013 alone. The study found at least 114 cases of illegal fishing off the coast of Western Africa, from Mauritania to Sierra Leone, with an average of one illegal practice uncovered every two days.
In many of the countries where this illegal fishing takes place, locals rely heavily on the fishing industry to provide not only sustenance, but a source of income. Fishermen in Africa are going out of business at an increasing rate due to illegal fishing, pollution, and climate change severely reducing the amount of fish available to be caught. Currently in West Africa, over half of fish stocks are over-exploited and will be fished out completely without intervention.
Over half of the illegal fishing cases uncovered in the report involved vessels belonging to the China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC), the country’s largest fishing company which also develops fisheries in foreign seas. The study found that the CNFC consistently under-reports gross tonnage of fishing vessels in order to evade foreign licensing fees.
This type of irresponsible fishing will not only affect thousands of Africans who rely on fishing to feed their families, but could cause permanent changes to the West African seascape. Without intervention, several species of fish could be wiped out entirely, making the whole ocean food chain suffer. Sign the petition below to demand that China immediately cease all unlicensed fishing operations in West Africa.
Dear Minister Han Changfu,
A recent study by Greenpeace showed an alarming prevalence of illegal Chinese fishing vessels in West African waters. According to data, at least one illegal activity by Chinese fishing boats was uncovered every two days, directly contributing to the dramatic and ongoing loss of fish stocks in West Africa.
While China has made some efforts to reduce overfishing in its own waters, the country is showing no respect to the seas and waterways in foreign countries. This could result in the complete loss of many fish species in South Africa and the subsequent suffering of those who rely on fishing for sustenance and income. We, the undersigned, demand that China crack down on illegal fishing operations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joachim Müllerchen