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Senegal fishermen accuse Russia of poaching

January 09, 2014, 14:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia will continue efforts to conduct constructive talks for the release of trawler Oleg Naidenov from custody January 9
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© EPA/STR

MOSCOW, January 09. /ITAR-TASS/. The fishing association of Senegal, West Africa, accuses Russia of poaching in face of no official charges to arrested trawler Oleg Naidenov, head of the centre of public relations Alexander Savelyev told Itar-Tass in comments on an official address of the association to the government of the West African republic.

“To accuse someone of poaching official charges are needed, but they are not brought against the arrested trawler’s crew yet, because at the moment of arrest the trawler was sailing in the exclusive economic zone of Guinea Bissau, not Senegal,” he noted.

Russia will continue efforts to conduct constructive talks for the release of trawler Oleg Naidenov from custody with Senegalese President Macky Sall January 9, 2014. The Russian centre is expected to sum up the preliminary results of the talks by 17:00 Moscow time (13:00 GMT), Savelyev noted.

U.S. news agency Associated Press reported earlier in the day that more than 300 Senegalese fishermen urged the government to combat poaching by Russian vessels in the waters of the African republic. They are indignant that a large number of Russian trawlers started fishing in the area recently. Meanwhile, the neighboring country of Guinea Bissau is used as their foothold.

The Russian trawler Oleg Naidenov was detained with the use of force 46 nautical miles (85.2 kilometers) off the coast of Guinea Bissau in early January. The Senegalese military forces inflicted several wounds to the sailors in the detention operation. Then the ship was convoyed to the port of Dakar.

Trawler Oleg Naidenov belongs to closed joint stock society Feniks registered at the northern Russian port of Murmansk. The vessel was carrying 62 Russian citizens, mainly sailors from Murmansk Region, and 20 Guinea Bissau citizens.

The crew is being kept onboard the Russian trawler under the convoy of Senegalese law enforcement agencies. The identity documents were confiscated from the sailors right after the detention.

The Russian fishing fleet has been operating in the waters of West Africa from the seventies of the 20th century. The Russian catches in the Senegalese exclusive economic zone have reached 49,100 tonnes of fish for the first half of 2012, before the African country had banned licenses for foreign fishing companies in June 2012 and had annulled 29 fishing permits for foreign vessels in the territorial waters of Senegal.

Senegalese President Macky Sall elected at the top post in the country in 2012 explained this decision by the fact that the previous government had signed unprofitable agreements with foreign fishermen that are exhausting the fish resources of the country. The super-trawlers from Western Europe and China are also fishing off the coasts of West Africa. 

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