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The majority of West African FMFO is destined for overseas markets, largely Asia and the EU.

Greenpeace Says Export of Fish Oil and Meal Is a Threat to Millions in Africa

WORLDWIDE
Friday, June 21, 2019, 17:00 (GMT + 9)

The environmental group said Wednesday, that the exporting of tonnes of fish oil and fish meal from Africa to China and Europe poses a serious danger to the diets of millions of Africans.

Greenpeace, at a press conference in Dakar, shared that it had identified 50 factories producing fish oil and meal, mainly in Mauritania but also in other West African nations such as Senegal and The Gambia.

Ibrahima Cisse of Greenpeace Africa’s oceans protection campaign said, “Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fish are made into meal or oil for export, to the detriment of about 40 million African men and women.”

Top 10 importers of fishmeal from Mauritania 2014 - 2018 (tonnes)

The fish products are used in feed for poultry, pigs, and other farm animals. “Africans must be put ahead of the interests of industrial farming,” He added.

Greenpeace called on West African governments “to put an end to the fish oil and meal industry, which is a real threat to the fish stocks in the region… essential to the food security of the local populations” —among the poorest in the world.

The environmental group estimated that fish represents 70 percent of the animal protein intake of people in Senegal and 50 percent in Gambia. Meanwhile, the main species threatened by the industry are small fish such as sardinella.

Location of fishmeal factories in Mauritania (east of Nouadhibou)

Greenpeace has found 50 operational FMFO factories in the region, 40 of which were active in March 2019. The majority of West African FMFO is destined for overseas markets, largely Asia and the EU. Exports of FMFO from Mauritania have doubled between 2014 and 2018, making this country now the largest exporter of fishmeal and fish oil in the region. In 2017, it was estimated that nearly 550,000 tonnes of pelagic fish were harvested to supply FMFO processing plants in Mauritania.

In 2018, Mauritania exported a major part of its fish products to China, the European Union, Turkey and Vietnam. According to Greenpeace, the fish oil and meal produced in Senegal goes to the EU and other African nations, while much of Gambia’s exports go to the EU and Tunisia.

Download the report A WASTE OF FISH Food security under threat from the fishmeal and fish oil industry in West Africa

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