Demands of Saharawi fishermen in Dakhla, 25 May 2013
Published 30 May 2013

Youth of Dakhla demand the fisheries ministry to provide clear explanations

Our economical situation is critical; the people of Dakhla live in a very rich fishing region, but suffer from exclusion. During the last decades they have not participated in the local decision-making, especially when it comes to the fishing sector, because of the corruption which results in personal benefits for certain people. The right of the middle class has been destroyed: it’s only big income resulted from fishing activities, but they are all excluded from the sector today. Deals are made between the Ministry and powerful lobbies that plunder the resources and real in money on our backs.

We want a clear explanation from the Minister and our demands fulfilled. Our demands are;

1. Protection of resources

The number of vessels equipped with type-C tanks and specialised in fishing in shallow waters ought to be limited. The quota system should be implemented on all vessels – including foreign vessels - in order not to exceed a total catch of one million tonnes per year.

- The quantity allowed to be fished by RSW vessels should be limited to 200 tonnes maximum. Vessels operating in the coastal waters should not exceed 2000 boxes per trip. These limitations are introduced to limit the very high quantities of fish that are currently being transferred to fish meal industry.
- Implement the same taxes for the fleet fishing in deep waters, as for traditional fishing and coastal fishing.
- To protect the products, vessels should be obliged to use ice when entering and leaving the harbour.
- Strictly control shenanigans with reporting of fished quantities.
- Implement the ministry’s decisions and resolutions from the technical institution that only allow RSW vessels in the 12-mile zone and coastal fishing vessels in the 2-mile zone, and that all vessels should use Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and plastic boxes.

2. Benefits

- Support local investors by making it easier for them to get vessels and fishing licenses.
- Improve trainings for workers in fish sector and facilitate access to training centres for the people of the region.
- Train observers from the local people to observe and control the unloading of vessels, and all other fishing activities.
- Replace officials in the local administration or bring people who can deal with the problems with more flexibility.
- Create an account to transfer a percentage of revenues stemming from the fishing activities, to give to charity.
- Support graduates and technicians from the region to get jobs in all departments of the fishing sector and in private and public companies.
- Give preference to the local people for fish trading
- Introduce a uniform salary for fishermen of 10000 Dirham per month, 5000 Dirham per month for workers.
- Limit the number of vessels fishing for cephalopods and link it to the general agency in the region
- Create cooperatives in the fish sector so as to benefit from better loan conditions.

On this basis, we have a historical responsibility to protect our resources and to defend and guarantee our right to benefit from the exploitation thereof.

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