Euros vs. Yuan: Comparing european and chinese fishing access in West Africa

Dyhia Belhabib, U. Rashid Sumaila, Vicky W Y Lam, Dirk Zeller, Philippe Le Billon, Elimane Abou Kane, Daniel Pauly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We compare the performance of European Union (EU) and Chinese fisheries access agreements with West African countries in terms of illegal and unreported fishing, economic equity, and patterns of exploitation. Bottom-up re-estimations of catch reveal that the EU (1.6 million t•year-1) and China (2.3 million t• year-1) report only 29% and 8%, respectively, of their estimated total catches (including estimated discards whenever possible) from West African countries between 2000 and 2010. EU catches are declining, while Chinese catches are increasing and are yet to reach the historic maximum level of EU catches (3 million t•year-1 on average in the 1970s-1980s). The monetary value of EU fishing agreements, correlated in theory with reported catches, is straightforward to access, in contrast to Chinese agreements. However, once quantified, the value of Chinese agreements is readily traceable within the African economy through the different projects they directly cover, in contrast to the funds disbursed [to host governments] by the EU. Overall, China provides resources equivalent to about 4% of the ex-vessel value [value at landing] of the catch taken by Chinese distant-water fleets from West African waters, while the EU pays 8%. We address the difficulties of separating fees directly related to fishing from other economic or political motivations for Chinese fees, which could introduce a bias to the present findings as this operation is not performed for EU access fees officially related to fishing. Our study reveals that the EU and China perform similarly in terms of illegal fishing, patterns of exploitation and sustainability of resource use, while under-reporting by the EU increases and that by China decreases. The EU agreements provide, in theory, room for improving scientific research, monitoring and surveillance, suggesting a better performance than for Chinese agreements, but the end-use of the EU funds are more difficult, and sometime impossible to ascertain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0118351
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Western Africa
European Union
Fees and Charges
China
Financial Management
Economics
economics
Fisheries
Water
monitoring
Landing
Sustainable development
fisheries

Cite this

Belhabib, D., Sumaila, U. R., Lam, V. W. Y., Zeller, D., Billon, P. L., Kane, E. A., & Pauly, D. (2015). Euros vs. Yuan: Comparing european and chinese fishing access in West Africa. PLoS One, 10(3), 1-22. [e0118351]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118351
Belhabib, Dyhia ; Sumaila, U. Rashid ; Lam, Vicky W Y ; Zeller, Dirk ; Billon, Philippe Le ; Kane, Elimane Abou ; Pauly, Daniel. / Euros vs. Yuan : Comparing european and chinese fishing access in West Africa. In: PLoS One. 2015 ; Vol. 10, No. 3. pp. 1-22.
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Belhabib, D, Sumaila, UR, Lam, VWY, Zeller, D, Billon, PL, Kane, EA & Pauly, D 2015, 'Euros vs. Yuan: Comparing european and chinese fishing access in West Africa' PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 3, e0118351, pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118351

Euros vs. Yuan : Comparing european and chinese fishing access in West Africa. / Belhabib, Dyhia; Sumaila, U. Rashid; Lam, Vicky W Y; Zeller, Dirk; Billon, Philippe Le; Kane, Elimane Abou; Pauly, Daniel.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 3, e0118351, 20.03.2015, p. 1-22.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Belhabib D, Sumaila UR, Lam VWY, Zeller D, Billon PL, Kane EA et al. Euros vs. Yuan: Comparing european and chinese fishing access in West Africa. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 20;10(3):1-22. e0118351. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118351