China steals fish reserves from Africa to produce Norwegian salmon

Norwegian Salmon,, Chinese trawlers gather loads of fish from the shores of Africa

Tue, 21 Jun 2022 Source: Joel Savage

China is depleting Africa's fish sources to produce Norwegian salmon. Their trawlers gather loads of fish off the coast of Africa, turn it into flour, and sell it to aquaculture farms in Norway, where salmon is grown. The eradication of fish variety is a multibillion-dollar business.

In the little hamlet of Gunjur, on the Atlantic coast of the smallest African country, the Gambia, pies are moored day and night. Fishermen pass fish to women on the pier, creating a beautiful scene for tourists to witness. The magazine "Spiegel" has published a journalistic inquiry undertaken by Outlaw Ocean Project employees.

A three-meter fence can be found within 200 meters of the pier. The Chinese Golden Lead fishmeal facility is located behind it. A foul odor can be detected not just on the plant grounds, but also throughout the surrounding neighborhood. One of the workers secretly recorded footage of the harsh working conditions.

The men are sweating profusely and dumping local Bonga fish into a steel funnel because there is no ventilation. The fish enters the boilers via a conveyor belt, where it is pulverized into a slimy mess from which fat is extracted in long cylindrical furnaces.

The fat-free bulk is pulverized into a fine powder and piled meter-high in the hangar's center. Workers load 50-kilogram sacks with the powder when it cools. According to environmentalist Mustafa Manneh, one container holds 400 bags, and employees fill 20 to 40 containers per day.

Each day, this business produces 800 tons of fish meal. Fish meal-filled containers are delivered daily from Gunjur to China and Norway. It is used to feed aquaculture fish, which are then marketed all over the world.

Since the 1960s, global consumption of fish and seafood has doubled. Even now, catching enough fish to meet demand is impossible. Humanity has devised a solution, as aquaculture is gaining traction in place of fishing. Aquaculture now accounts for half of all fish marketed. This industry's overall revenue is anticipated to be around 260 billion dollars. This is the food industry's fastest-growing segment.

The cost of fish feed accounts for 50 to 90 percent of total costs. Fish meal is the only source of nutrition. The absurdity of the situation is that fish farms consume more of the product than they sell in supermarkets and restaurants. One tuna, for example, consumes 15 times the amount of raw fish used to make flour than it weighs. Fish flour is made from 25% of all fish captured around the world.

The Gambia's Chinese factory isn't the only one, from Mauritania and Senegal to Guinea-Bissau, more than 50 fish meal production complexes have been developed along the whole western coast.

The local population benefits in no way. Their losses are beyond repair. They have no food, since the traditional way of life has been ruined, and nature has been decimated. Golden Lead is one of the outposts of China's Belt and Road Initiative, an economic and geopolitical undertaking.

The Chinese government claims to raise the level of living in underdeveloped countries, fund collaborative projects, and provide opportunities for backward countries to progress. For China, Africa has become such a project. The Celestial Empire has complete control over all major infrastructure projects, including highways, pipelines, power plants, and ports.

In 2017, China quashed the Gambia's 14 million debt and invested 33 million in the country's agriculture and fisheries growth. In addition to Golden Lead, China has established two other such facilities on the Gambian coast, spanning 80 kilometers. Gunjur residents were promised jobs, a fish market, and paved streets across the community. Indeed, these factories have introduced industrial trawlers into their waterways, which catch all of the fish stocks and leave little for the local fisherman.

On the day Golden Lead began recycling and poisoned the entire air with hazardous vapors, the regular ecotourism-based economy collapsed. The stink is so bad that tourists no longer stay in hotels or dine in local restaurants.

In the Gambia, no new jobs were created. Fishmeal manufacture is fairly straightforward; the process is mechanized, and each shift requires 10-20 employees. However, the bong herring, which was so plentiful that dealers handed it to the needy for free at the end of the market, has vanished, and it now costs so much that the people can no longer buy it.

Bonga was the only source of protein available for an hour in the Gambia, a destitute country where half of the population lives in poverty. The Gambian government, on the other hand, supports Chinese investors, claiming that the fishing industry in the country is thriving. If the proceeds are moved into individual accounts, why wouldn't they say that?

However, the Bolong Fenyo Lagoon near the city turned purple three years ago, with dead fish swimming on the top. The lagoon was named a nature reserve by the commune a few years ago, and it was home to migrating birds, dolphins, bats, crocodiles, and monkeys.

The video selection was excellent. This attracted ecotourists and helped the region to recover financially. Residents gathered water samples and submitted them to a laboratory in Germany when an environmental calamity struck. The results were shocking: the water had double the amount of arsenic and tens of times the amount of nitrates and phosphates.

Activists wrote to the government, claiming that the Chinese plant was the only likely perpetrator of the event. The factory management stopped pouring garbage into the lagoon after receiving a little fine, but they extended a pipe to the beach, poisoning the entire shoreline.

Skin rashes are common among swimmers, the sea is filled with algae, dead fish is frequently washed up on shore, and turtles, dolphins, and stingrays are dying. The activists have used the media to their advantage, but the government has already warned the disgruntled that their actions could jeopardize foreign investment.

The stink of the plant was dubbed "the scent of money" by one senior official from the Ministry of Fisheries. Everything is denied by the factory. The director stated that there is nothing wrong, that the inhabitants and the plant have a complete relationship, and that the Chinese even invest in local education and make regular Ramadan donations but the sewage treatment plants were not mentioned.

Columnist: Joel Savage