Every year, up to 73 million sharks end up in the global fin trade, many of which are endangered species. Shark finning is illegal in Canadian waters, yet Canada is currently the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia. As an apex predator, sharks are essential to healthy ecosystems.
The goals of this paper are threefold. First, it quantitatively and qualitatively determines the economic and social cost of illicit trade in marine resources of West Africa. Second, the paper discusses the channels and scale of illicit trade in fish and fish products. Third, the economic loss and impacts from illicit trade are determined and policy options for curbing this trade suggested. We found substantial effects of illicit trade in the marine resources of West Africa, in terms of economic impact (defined as the added value through the fish value chain generated from the revenues earned from fishing), income, jobs and tax revenue impacts. For instance, the region as a whole is estimated to be losing economic and income impacts of nearly US$1,950 million and US$593 million, per year, respectively.
Fisheries in Guinea Bissau contribute greatly to the economy and food security of its people. Yet, as the ability of the country to monitor its fisheries is at most weak, and confronted with a heavy foreign fleet presence, the impact of industrial foreign fleets on fisheries catches is unaccounted for in the region. However, their footprint in terms of catch and value on the small-scale sector is heavily felt, through declining availability of fish. Fisheries in Guinea Bissau are operated by both legal (small-scale and industrial), and illegal (foreign unauthorized) fleets, whose catches are barely recorded. In this paper, we assess catches by both the legal and illegal sector, and the economic loss generated by illegal fisheries in the country, then attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) of Guinea Bissau’s fisheries.