Author: 

Duncan Copeland, government fisheries enforcement adviser based in Liberia

Additional author info: 

Duncan Copeland is a government fisheries enforcement adviser based in Liberia, as well as the West Africa Regional Coordinator for the Sea Around Us Project

Coastal waters Up to half of the total catch in West African waters is caught illegally.

In Liberia, over 40 industrial fishing vessels have been investigated for illegal fishing since 2011.

In Sierra Leone, 252 incidences of illegal fishing by ten industrial vessels were reported over an 18-month period up to July 2012.

Nine out of the ten of these vessels, filmed and photogaphed by the Environmental Justice Foundation, are accredited to export their catches to Europe.

While most countries do not have the capacity to accurately assess fishing in their waters, local people are reporting reduced catches. Photo: National Geographic/Getty Images

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