WSRW denounces resumption of frozen fish exports from occupied Western Sahara

Brussels, 10 October 2020 (SPS) - The Observatory of the Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) on Thursday denounced the resumption of exports of frozen fish from Western Sahara to ports in West African countries, and reaffirmed that this trade “directly contributes to prolonging” Morocco’s illegal occupation of the last African colony.

“Two months have passed since the start of the autumn fishing season offshore Western Sahara. Now, importing companies in the countries in the Gulf of Guinea have again started their problematic purchases. The trade directly contributes to prolonging Morocco’s illegal occupation of the last colony in Africa,” denounced the NGO.

“On Tuesday, a so-called ‘reefer’ vessel transporting frozen fish arrived at Tema, Ghana, with a large cargo. Other shipments have the last few weeks been landed in ports of Abidjan, Monrovia, Lomé, Matadi and Pointe-Noire. The fifth vessel for the season departed the territory on 3 October,” WSRW reported.

“In total, around 28,000 tonnes of fish could have been exported out of Western Sahara on the five vessels since the start of the new fishing season at the end of July.

To compare, the refugees from Western Sahara, who fled the territory following Morocco’s invasion and illegal occupation of their land, receive less than 1,000 tonnes of canned fish in humanitarian assistance every year,” according to the NGO’s figures.

According to the Observatory, the main markets for the frozen fish are the countries along the coast of West Africa, from Liberia in the north to Democratic Republic of Congo in the south.

The NGO further deplored the fact that the frozen fish onboard the vessels originate from EU trawlers operating in Western Sahara in violation of a ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU which stated that the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement cannot be applied to Western Sahara.

The involved vessels are: Fishing Success (IMO number 9121091, Latvia-flagged), Kapitan Morgun (IMO number 9120308, Latvia-flagged) and Ieva Simonaityte (IMO number 8607218, Lithuania-flagged), as per details provided by WSRW. (SPS)