The marine fisheries of Togo, the ‘Heart of West Africa


Fisheries catches in the Togolese Exclusive Economic Zone were reconstructed including small scale marine and lagoon fisheries, commercial large scale fisheries, illegal foreign fisheries and discards by both the domestic and foreign sectors. In the last two decades, total domestic catches showed a decrease, in contrast to the positive trend observed in the data supplied to FAO. Moreover, with a total of 2.3 million tonnes compared to 560,000 tonnes between 1950 and 2010, domestic catches were 4.1 times the catch supplied to FAO. This study also shows higher foreign fisheries removals than what is officially reported, with the foreign legal and illegal catch representing almost a quarter of the total reconstructed catch. These catches are masked by the reflagging practices of Togo and the lack of fisheries monitoring and enforcement, which illustrates a general “laisser faire” in the Togolese fisheries policy, and threatens poverty alleviation strategies and food security within local communities trapped between the over-exploitation of fisheries and the anticipated effects of climate change.





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