By Alpha Kamara
Mauritania’s coast guard on Tuesday arrested 70 Senegalese fishermen caught fishing illegally in its waters.
This was confirmed by the spokesperson for Senegal’s fishermen’s union based in St. Louis close to the Mauritanian border.
“Some of those arrested are currently being detained in Nouakchott. One of them was shot and has been admitted (to hospital). Some have been released on bail, but their boats were seized. Ten others remain detained,” Djiby Gueye told local radio station Teranga FM in St. Louis.
Senegal’s fisheries director based in St. Louis has called for the release of the men and urged fishermen to cease operations in that area with immediate effect.
“We are calling for the immediate release of all those detained even as we condemn illegal cross-border fishing outside our maritime zone. We are also calling for all Senegalese fishermen to stop fishing in that area and to find a way to settle this dispute,” Famara Niassy told St. Louis municipal radio.
Senegalese fishermen are fond of crossing over to Mauritania to fish regularly, a situation Mauritanian authorities think is putting their local fishermen out of business.
Mauritania has not signed a fisheries agreement with Senegal under its new fisheries code. Some of its provisions make it unlawful for Senegalese and other foreign fishermen to fish in its territorial waters.