Senegalese authorities detained seven Chinese trawling vessels for illegally fishing in its waters, the country’s navy said.
A Senegalese patrol boat intercepted the vessels off the coast of Senegal’s southern Casamance region, naval Captain Karim Mara, head of the patrol mission, told Reuters.
“The trawlers were caught in the flagrant offence of fishing without authorisation in Senegalese waters,” Mara said.
West Africa has some the richest fish stocks in the world, but they are being rapidly depleted by industrial trawlers, some operating illegally.
A study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science estimates West Africa’s annual losses from illegal and unregulated fishing at $2.3 billion.
Chinese fishermen, as well as employees from Guinea-Bissau and Guinea were aboard the boat, Mara said.
Last month environmental group Greenpeace said West African countries detained eight Chinese ships for fishing illegally and the owners could be subject to millions of dollars in fines.