Senegal is a storied land, once the nexus of the trans-Atlantic slave trade that debilitated Africa. It is now victim to another pernicious trade, that of industrial fishing, that is working to undermine the local, continental, and global equilibrium. One of the biggest threats to the worlds oceans today is overfishing. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that over 75% of the world's fish stocks are overexploited, fully exploited, or depleted. In European waters, the level of overfishing is higher than the global average, with 88% of European fish stocks in a poor state. Since their own fisheries have become too overfished, they have simply headed to Africa, where they fail to put any protective measures in place to save the diminishing fish stock.
Beyond the millions of West Africans that have come to depend on the fish caught off shore for their basic protein needs, overfishing (coupled with climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution) is disrupting the local economy and cultural sustainability that many of these countries cannot afford to withstand. What was once their birthright has now been taken over by global conglomerates greedily decimating the local ecosystem for the sake of luxury dining. The destruction of industrial fishing to the marine ecosystem is pervasive and globally impactful. Deep sea trawling, which was been widely derided, is still the main mode of fishing and can disrupt up to 25% of the ocean floor (including centuries worth of CO2 mitigating corals and sponges). Furthermore, the severe reduction of native fish from the marine ecosystems upsets the natural stasis of the world's oceans, unsettling its ability to mitigate carbon emissions (and thereby global warming) by breaking the food chain, allowing for the bloom and subsequent death of phytoplankton and the consequent acidification of the Earth's oceans. This phenomenon, along with pollution and eutrophication, has created a widening band of oxygen depleted dead zones that further threatens our capacity to live. X