Ziguinchor, Senegal (PANA) – Senegalese Fishing Minister Ali Aïdar has rejected allegations made against him regarding the fishing agreements he recently concluded with the European Union allowing European vessels to catch 14,000 tons of tuna annually in the country’s territorial waters.
The Minister said he had only regularized an abnormal situation that existed since 2006, which allowed EU vessels to catch 15,000 tons of fish in the Senegalese waters without paying a single cent to the government.
”And this has happened until I became Fishing Minister when I called the ship owners and told them this could not continue and that we should negotiate with the EU to regularize this situation in our country,” he said.
The Minister said Senegal needed its tuna resources to support its transformation industry in the capital city of Dakar and that the International Institute for the Conservation of Tuna Resources (ICAT) has said that Senegal has the capacity to catch 50 tons of tuna.
”I told the ship owners that we need them to catch the tuna and sell it at home for the benefit of our fish transformation industry,” he said, adding that this should be done through an agreement.
He added: “We have negotiated with the Fishing Commission that has enabled us to collect 15 million euros for a period of five years for a total catch of 14,000 tons of fish annually.”
The Minister said the agreement would allow Senegal to obtain an envelope worth 50 million euros for research, surveillance of the country’s territorial waters, the creation of a calamity fund and the restoration of the ecosystem.