APO News from Africa:
Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.
In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.
Greenpeace and Sierra Leonean authorities inspected and boarded seven vessels during a four day joint surveillance of Sierra Leonean seas. These included three Chinese vessels, two EU vessels, one Korean vessel, and one Senegalese vessel with Korean investment. More than half of the inspected vessels are suspected of illegal fishing activity.
Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace Africa Oceans campaigner, said: “The findings from just four days of surveillance in Sierra Leone are further evidence that West Africa needs to strengthen its fisheries management. The region’s marine resources are being depleted at alarming rates, mainly due to too many boats competing for too few fish, and high rates of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This ongoing plunder is a threat to millions of people in the region who depend on the oceans for their food.”
Currently, 140 vessels are licenced to operate in Sierra Leonean waters, including tuna purse seiners, demersal and shrimp trawlers and shrimps and mid-water trawlers targeting pelagic fish like sardinella and mackerel. Nearly half of all vessels in the country’s waters are owned by Chinese companies, and 40% by European Union companies.
Pan Wenjing, Greenpeace East Asia oceans campaigner, said: “From talking to Chinese captains during the inspections, it is evident that they have a very limited understanding of local fisheries legislation. Given that almost half of the foreign fishing vessels in Sierra Leone are Chinese, this is a major concern. These vessels need much stricter supervision. In addition, Chinese fishing companies need to supply training on local legislation to all overseas staff.”
Nearly one million of Sierra Leone’s population of seven million depend on fish as a main part of their income and diet. Overfishing and illegal fishing are a direct threat to their food security and livelihoods.
Greenpeace is demanding a stronger fisheries management to help put an end to overfishing and illegal fishing in West Africa. Governments of coastal states and fishing nations must take more responsibility and work together to manage both foreign and local fishing activities and ensure the environmentally sustainable and socially equitable distribution of these resources.
Details on the vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities:
The Italian vessel was inspected on April 15th 2017, and shark fins with a total weight of four kilograms were found on board.
Unlike many other countries, such as neighbouring Guinea, shark finning is not yet listed as illegal under the current Sierra Leonean fishery legislation. A new legislation which prohibits finning has not yet come into force. However, according to European Council regulation (EC) No 1185/2003, it is illegal for an EU vessel to have shark fins on board, regardless of whether if it is fishing in EU or foreign waters. 
F/V Eighteen is owned by the Italian company Asaro, which is based in Sicily. Sierra Leonean authorities have documented and sealed the bag of shark fins and required the captain to keep the sealed fins on board as evidence.
The vessel was inspected on April 15th 2017, and attempted to escape as the Esperanza approached. The vessel was hiding its name and in possession of a fishing net with illegal mesh size on board, both of which are illegal under Sierra Leonean law.
According to Sierra Leonean fishery legislation, the mesh size for pelagic and demersal fishing should be 60 millimeters and above. The fishing net found on board CONA was 51-52 millimeters.
CONA is a Korean vessel. Sierra Leonean authorities confiscated the fishing license, captain’s passport, along with other navigation documents, and required the vessel to return Freetown port immediately for further investigation.
Fu Hai Yu 1111:
The vessel was inspected on April 17th 2017, and attempted escape as the Esperanza approached. Two hidden nets with illegal mesh size were found, one in the freezer and the other in a locked container. The captain tried to muddle the inspection with a brand new legal net.
More than 1400 boxes of catch were found in the freezer on board. The captain claimed all the catch had been unloaded in Liberia. However, the vessel didn’t have the required official authorization from the Minister of Fishery and Marine Resource of Sierra Leone for unloading its catch outside the country, which constitutes an infraction of local legislation. Further research is being done to ascertain whether this authorisation has been given to the company.
During the inspection, no log book was found on board, making it impossible to verify the catch.
70 bags of sharks were found in the boat’s freezer, which the captain claimed would be shipped back to Fujian, China. Current legislation does not penalise sharks being caught as a bycatch, although shark populations are severely impacted by fishing.
Sierra Leonean authorities confiscated the fishing license, crew’s passports, and other navigation documents, and required the vessel to return Freetown port immediately for further investigation.
Fu Hai Yu 2222:
The vessel was inspected on April 17th 2017. A piece of fishing net with illegal mesh size was found on board, which the captain claimed was not used for fishing. However, possessing fishing nets with smaller mesh size on board is considered illegal.
No logbook was found on board the Fu Hai Yu 2222. The captain could not provide a precise amount of catch, instead estimating 3500 boxes, which did not match with the estimation of the fisheries observer on board. The captain claimed that catch had been unloaded in Liberia. This, however, is illegal without the official authorization signed by the Minister of Fishery and Marine Resource of Sierra Leone.
Both Fu Hai Yu vessels are owned by the Fuhai Fishing Company.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Greenpeace.
Notes to editors:
The Esperanza, is on an expedition in West Africa to document the threat from overfishing to the marine environment and food security for millions of Africans depending on fish. The crew on board with the support of fishing authorities from coastal countries in the West Africa aim to reduce the number of vessels fishing illegally or committing different offense. The Esperanza will continue to engage in joint surveillance with local authorities until the beginning of May.
● Contact onboard the Esperanza: Pavel Klinckhamers, project leader, Greenpeace Netherlands, PKlinckh@Greenpeace.org, +31 107130874
● International media enquiries: Christina Koll, communications coordinator, Greenpeace Nordic, CKoll@Greenpeace.org, +45 28109021
● African media enquiries: Bakary Coulibaly, communications officer, Greenpeace Africa, Senegal office, BKouliba@Greenpeace.org, +221 773336265
● Chinese media enquiries: Tengfei Xu, communications officer, Greenpeace East Asia Beijing Office, Xu.Tengfei@Greenpeace.org, +86 18601277872
Photos and footage available at: http://act.gp/2oOyYOk.
Please also find a Greenpeace briefing here (http://APO.af/ZMkvey).
- Image: Inspection of Chinese Fishing Vessel in Sierra Leone (1)
- Image: Inspection of Chinese Fishing Vessel in Sierra Leone (2)
- Image: Inspection of Chinese Fishing Vessel in Sierra Leone (3)
- Video: GP0STQP2XGreenpeace and Sierra Leonean Fisheries Authorities conducting surveillance and inspect illegal fishing activities in the EEZ of Sierra Leone
Scatec Solar (www.ScatecSolar.com) and partners have signed 25-year Power Purchase Agreements for delivery of electricity from six solar plants totaling 400 MW (DC) with the Government of Egypt. The signing ceremony took place in Cairo on April 13 in the presence of Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi and the Ambassador of Norway Mr. Sten Arne Rosnes.
All located in Ben Ban area near Aswan in Upper Egypt, the solar plants are expected to generate about 870 GWh of solar electricity per year. These projects are part of the 2 GW solar FiT programme launched by the Egyptian Government in 2015. The electricity produced from the 400 MW is expected to replace about 350,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, supporting Egypt's emission reduction targets under the Paris Climate Agreement.
“With this programme the Government of Egypt is making important steps towards accessing clean and low cost electricity to drive development and economic prosperity. Scatec Solar and partners are making significant investments and long term commitment to Egypt” said Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar.
Total investments for the 400 MW of solar plants is estimated to USD 450 million and the plants are expected to generate annual revenues of about USD 60 million over the 25-year contract period. Scatec Solar will build, own and operate all six projects and Scatec Solar's share of equity investments will be in the range of USD 50-70 million. Scatec Solar is partnering with local developers and with KLP Norfund Investments for equity investments in the projects and may add additional partners to an equity consortium before financial close.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is leading a consortium of banks that is expected to support the six projects with a total debt of up to USD 350 million.
Scatec Solar is a leading developer and owner of large-scale solar plants in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Americas. With the latest addition, Scatec Solar's project backlog consists of 1,131 MW.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Scatec Solar.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Raymond Carlsen, CEO
Tel: +47 454 11 280
Mr. Mikkel Tørud, CFO
Tel: +47 976 99 144
About Scatec Solar:
Scatec Solar (www.ScatecSolar.com) is an integrated independent solar power producer, delivering affordable, rapidly deployable and sustainable source of clean energy worldwide. A long term player, Scatec Solar develops, builds, owns, operates and maintains solar power plants, and already has an installation track record of close to 600 MW.
The company is producing electricity from 322 MW of solar power plants in the Czech Republic, South Africa, Rwanda, Honduras and Jordan.
With an established global presence, the company is growing briskly with a project backlog of more than 1.1 GW under development in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Scatec Solar is headquartered in Oslo, Norway and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 'SSO'.
- Image: Scatec Solar and partners sign Power Purchase Agreements for 400 MW in Egypt
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated worldwide on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
In connection with Earth Day 2017, the U.S. Embassy will host a half day panel discussion to raise awareness on environment & inspire action in defense of environmental protection tomorrow April 21, 2017.
University and high school students; environment club members and YALI Network members will participate in the panel discussion where panelists drawn from government institutions and NGO’s share their experiences on the role of education in creating environmental awareness and as to what should be done to improve environmental awareness.
Environmental and climate literacy is the engine for not only for advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.
You are invited to attend the panel discussion:
Date: Friday, April 21, 2017 at 9:45 (in the morning)
Venue: American Embassy, Entoto Road
Please RSVP to Zelalem Befekadu (091-150-9522) or Ali Suleiman (091-150-9510).
Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.