Environmentally destructive connections of local fisheries with the Asian markets: shark fishing practices in the coastal zone of Congo Brazzaville
Nathaniel Lartey (University of the Western Cape )
Paper short abstract:
Despite the ban implemented in 2000, artisanal fishing of shark has intensified over the past years. The paper highlights the drivers of this fishing activity by bringing to the fore the disruptive market connections between the local and international actors.
Paper long abstract:
The paper examines the extent to which shark fishing has intensified over the past years and the involvement of local fishers and international traders in this process. Using visual observations carried out on landed sites and in-depth interviews, the paper identifies some of the drivers of the growing shark fishing at three levels. The first level is that of the local fishers involved in catching sharks at high sea. These are migrant fishermen and most of them have originated from West Africa. For many years, their fishing techniques were mainly artisanal and shark fishing was not their primary activity. With the depletion of catches of other fish species, they turned to more sophisticated and intensive fishing equipment to catch species like a shark at high sea. At the international level, and in recent years, shark catches have also been driven by demands for fin in distant Asian markets. As in most parts of Asia, shark fins have declined due to over exploitation of shark population and bans imposed on shark catches. For Asian traders, outsourcing the supply of shark fins to African locations has been an alternative to locally harvested ones. To overcome the ban imposed in Congo, Asian traders have arranged with local fishers to get supplies of thins in informal ways. This informal market of shark, therefore, connects local fishers to international markets in Asia. It is a market propelled by the absence of state control.
Non-state investments in natural resources extraction from Asian entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa: assessing their transformative and their disruptive effects at the local level