September 29, 2022
Fish processors in Senegal go to court to urge for shutdown of fishmeal plant
A case taken by a community coalition in Senegal to close a fishmeal plant could have implications for the expansion of production in the region, which has seen major expansion by, specifically, Chinese operators, alongside plants built by European, Russian and Turkish operators.
Members of the Taxawu Cayar Collective, made up of female fish processors and artisanal fishers – along with community and environmental representatives – went to the High Court in Thiès, Senegal, to request an injunction to temporarily close the Touba Protéine Marine fishmeal factory, which was previously owned by Spanish firm Barna before being bought out by local management
Maitre Bathily, the collective's lawyer, said the litigation was a first for Africa and a "historic test" of local institutions. He said his case will also shed light on how fishmeal factories are licensed in Senegal. According to Bathily, the factory has "repeatedly broken environmental codes, and the environmental impact assessment conducted before it opened clearly had enormous flaws."
The court case has been adjourned until October 6. Maty Ndao, a Taxawu Cayar Collective member, said the collective was taking a stand against abuses carried out on her community by the fishmeal and fish oil industry.
The Marine Ingredients Organization (IFFO), a trade body which represents the fishmeal and fish oil sector, said its membership is not well-represented in the West Africa region and it had no comment on the situation regarding TPM fishmeal plant.
"IFFO cannot comment on specific cases, but wants to make it clear that its priority is to ensure that food security for local populations is not undermined. Proven overfishing or any IUU practices are not acceptable," an IFFO spokesperson said.