By Agence France-Presse
Campaign group Greenpeace urged Senegal Tuesday to boost security for hard-pressed fishermen, saying “thousands” have disappeared at sea in recent years.
“At least 226 people have officially disappeared or lost their lives” in the past two years, Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaign Manager Ibrahima Cisse told a press conference in Dakar.
The real number however “goes well beyond that. In fact, thousands are lost at sea,” he added.
Because many informal fishermen do not register with the authorities, official statistics are incomplete, he explained.
Competing with industrial fishing boats, with which their small craft sometimes collide, many fishermen search for fish far from the Senegalese coast, often in waters belonging to neighbouring Mauritania.
Bad weather and mechanical breakdowns are other major reasons why fishermen disappear, according to some who participated in the press briefing.
Abdourahmane Faye, who represented fishermen from Rufisque, near Dakar, urged the government to install equipment to locate boats, often just large canoes, that were in trouble.
Cisse said fishermen should be provided with life vests, be registered, and be covered by a national surveillance and rescue network.