11th, Jan. Dakhla: Fishery societies denounce fish plunder and biodiversity distruction

The Saharawi associations active in the fisheries sector:Nawras,Qindil, the Sailors working onboard fishing vessels, and the fisheries officers organized a protest on Friday morning, January 11, 2013 in front of the Delegation of the Fisheries in the city of Dakhla in Western Sahara. The protest of these associations was to denounce the systematic unfair policies established and run by the Ministry of Fisheries as well as the companies that operate in the territory, beside the practices carried out by naval fleets that fish in the coasts of Dakhla in Western Sahara. More than 50 sailors, members and chairmen of associations gathered at around 11 am this morning to protest in front of the the Regional Delegation of Fisheries in Dakhla. The protesters denounced the ill-practices conducted by the Mauna Company, and questioned the continuation of its operations in the territory which basically aim to marginalize and exclude all Saharwis natives of the regions. The protesters expressed their disapproval of the continued illegal practices conducted by RSW vessels. The Saharawi associations also condemned the practices of the Russian fleet which use fish nets that are internationally prohibited. These Russian vessels are responsible for destroying the maritime Wildlife in the region. They catch endangered fish species and throw them in the deep sea uncontrollably without any fear because of the lack of the presence of official observers who should be controlling the practices in this domain and enforcing the law and the terms in the agreements.
The slogan the protesters were chanting was :

“The news is what you see not what you hear”.

Accordingly, the Saharawi associations demand the following:

1 – The opening of an investigation with the Russian fleet on all illegal practices, including the use of internationally prohibited nets, as well as the interrogation of its members about the fishing of internationally prohibited fish types such as: Dolphins and how they throw these type of fish in the waters
2- Investigating the RSW ships and their illegal fishing if dolphins,
as well why the exclusion of recruiting the people of the region to be part of the ongoing fishing operations.
3 – To investigate Ministry’s monitors and officials as to why they never do their jobs and also about the previous abuses reported throughout the years.
4 – To open an investigation with Mauna Company and other companies in the region about their illegal conduct. There have been reports about the Mauna taking bribes from future recruits to be employed onboard the Russian vessels. Another investigation should be about the transportation “of goods and persons” which is also part of the activities conducted by Mauna. This ship of transportation drowned in the sea, carrying dozens of sailors who were rescued while large amounts of goods which drowned. Besides, there should be another investigation about the poor meager salaries of the seamen.
5 – To investigate all those involved in corruption and bribery in all sectors of the fisheries in Dakhla.
6 – We continue to ask the same question: what does the Dakhla and Lagouira region benefit from the fisheries sector as we are still living the suffering, the misery, the marginalization and exclusion of its inhabitants.
7 – We announce that we shall continue vigorously the defense of the three main rights:
– The protection of our wealth
– The right to benefit from our wealth
– The fight against corruption and to denounce the manipulation of this wealth.

Dakhla 01/11/2013



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