"I run an association of volunteers for the protection of the marine environment. The association was set up in 1984, with as its main purposes knowledge of and protection of marine fauna and flora."
What is your opinion of the fishing agreements between Senegal and the EU?
"For the Senegalese fishermen, the fishing agreements offer no advantages. Absolutely none, I stress, absolutely none. Maybe the EU is going to give something in return financially, which, as a general rule, is pocketed by our governments. There is nothing for the fishermen or for the population."
Catching immature specimens: a serious threat to resources
"Not all the effects of the fishing agreements are negative, but there are reasons to fear the disappearance of species: several are already on their way to disappearing. This year, for example, the fishermen have not seen any drum yet, and groupers are becoming rare.
These are clear signs! Permission is being given for fishing for, and exportation of, immature white groupers, which is usually forbidden by law. The Senegalese government gives you a fishing licence, while knowing that you can do nothing with it. There are no fish any longer that exceed these sizes (adults). Go to the Kermel market. You'll buy spiny lobster there that are no bigger than 10 cm. Another example is fishing with the mono-filament net: it's forbidden by law, but it is being used everywhere."
If you were able to speak directly to the President of the European Union, what would you say to him?
"If I was face to face with the president of the European Union, I would ask him to stop for a minute, to turn around, and to look behind him. What would he see? He would see highly developed societies that have developed extremely destructive fishing methods, which have pillaged the resources of their own countries, because they fish a lot with very effective means.
So today they don't catch anything anymore at home, and they want to bring those techniques to our seas. So I say, what has happened at home is going to happen here with us. You shouldn't make the same mistake twice, you can't do that!"
"Of course, I'm not saying that it is only the industrial vessels that are to blame. No. It happens at the very top. In any case, it's there that secret agreements are signed, it's there that fictional companies are set up, straw men. Chinese and Taiwanese boats are allowed, everyone is allowed to come and fish, so long as money changes hands.
That's what is dangerous. I would tell him to put a stop to all that, because it is they, the people who provide the funds, who can talk at that level, and not us. We (the NGOs and associations), all we can do is gesticulate, and it stops there."