Migration of artisanal fishers targeting small pelagics in West Africa: current trends and development

Elhadj Deme*, Yayo Amalatchy, Raul Jumpe, Waly Bocoum, Moustapha Deme, Pierre Failler, Mohamed Soumah, Momodou Sidibeh, Idrissa Diédhiou, Antaya Lauren Alexandra March, Grégoire Touron-Gardic, Assane Deda Fall

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study sought to present the evolutions and new trends of migrant fishing targeting small pelagics in West Africa from fishing grounds to consumption grounds. The work involved of characterising migrant fishers targeting small pelagics in West Africa (country of origin, fishing gear and target species), presenting the modalities of access to the resources, estimating their catches and evaluating the impact in the host countries. This work made it possible to analyse changes in terms of the actors involved, the volumes and values of catches, and the forms of valorization and marketing of products from the migrant sectors over the period 2008 - 2018. Overall, the quantities of pelagic fish caught by migrant fishermen are increasing. The production of small pelagic migrant fisheries has almost doubled over a decade, from an estimated of 180,000 t over the period 2008 - 2012, to a current estimated production of almost 324,500 t. More than 50 % of this production is sold on the market in fresh or frozen form. More than 75,000 t (22 %) and 94,000 t (28 %) are destined for artisanal and industrial processing respectively. Migrant fisheries thus supply more to industrial processing than to artisanal processing. Thus, migrant fisheries have contributed over the last ten years to the emergence of fishmeal factories in West Africa. Moreover, their contribution to local economies
is increasingly important. However, despite their significant evolution in terms of catch volumes and values, migrant fisheries still operate outside of legislative frameworks and without being explicitly accounted for in national statistics. Moreover, conflicts are increasingly important given the current tensions and issues surrounding the exploitation of small pelagic fish in West Africa. This work recommends the development of a common management plan for migrant fishers in the countries of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) and the West Central Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Committees (WCGC).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalMarine and Fishery Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022


  • fisheries
  • migration
  • impacts
  • small pelagic
  • West Africa


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