Since years, the WWF co-founded and still strongly WWF promoted MSC standard for sustainable industrial fisheries has tried to get its certification scheme into practice in developing countries, with modest success so far. Now it seems they will gain ground in the pole and line fisheries on tuna, in Senegalese waters.
Driven by the industry from abroad – Senegalese fishermen let apart. But how independent is MSC really? The project aims at the certification of pole and line caught Skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), and is sponsored by some big guys in the industry, like Thai Union (Thailand), Princes Group (UK), and Asociación Atuneros Cañeros DAKAR TUNA (Spain), together with the Senegalese government, two Senegalese fishing companies, and WWF UK. To be noted: None of the Senegalese artisanal fishermen’s associations is on board.
The once so rich Senegalese waters are overfished mainly because of the increasing demand from Asia and Europe, no matter whether the catch is carried out by foreign trawlers—sometimes reflagged as Senegalese by some trick—or by local pirogues. When local fishermen have no say in the MSC certification project, the local population will see only little of the catch, if ever. Thai Union is known to grab fish wherever and in whatever way they can, and the Princes Group has been exploiting tuna stocks in Mauritius for twenty years already to market the products elsewhere.