The goal of this project was to explore the economic and social consequences of overfishing on coastal communities in West Africa, through stories and investigations. We selected the West Africa region because it is widely recognized as having some of the highest instances of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, or IUU, as it is commonly known.
Over two years, EJN improved the coverage of sustainable and illegal fisheries issues in West Africa by carrying out journalism training workshops in Ghana and Senegal. We helped establish Ghana’s first network of fisheries journalists, Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE) and re-launched a network of journalists in Senegal called Groupe Environment Recherche Press (GREP). And we supported the production of more than 85 stories in both English and French on fisheries topics throughout the West African region. In early 2019 EJN was awarded a special recognition prize by the Stop IUU Fishing Awards for its work on this project, along with awards received by at least one grantee. Financial backing for this project was provided by the Adessium Foundation.
“As ever increasing portions of the ocean must now be fished in order to simply maintain catch levels, there is a real need to make the public more aware of the impacts and drivers of overfishing and its economic and social consequences. Developing the expertise of the media to tackle this issue in the region can play a positive role in reinforcing local, national and regional efforts in the region,” said Mona Samari, Project Manager for EJN.
Journalists interviews local fishermen as part of the training in Elmina, Ghana
EJN’s Covering the Seas Reporting Toolkit – available in Chinese, Japanese, English and Indonesian -- highlights how the ocean is one of the most dynamic and yet most under-reported food systems on the planet.
As part of its long-running Ocean Media Initiative, EJN has carried out numerous projects working with journalists and media organizations on sustainable fisheries issues in Asia (particularly Indonesia and China), Europe (focused on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy) and Latin America. It has also developed a series of stories called Future Oceans on the prospects for marine management in an era marked by technological disruption.