A Chinese fishing company accused of polluting the beaches of a small village in southwestern Gambia has been dragged to court by the West African nation’s environmental agency.
According to local residents, Golden Lead Factory is illegally dumping fish and using an underground pipe to dispose fish waste into the sea.
Court documents say the fish plant is violating environmental rules and regulation, and not following proper waste management procedures.
Activists joined residents during the World Oceanic Day to clean Gunjur’s beach only for it to be littered with dead fish days later.
Protests were held in Gunjur and Kartong urging the West African nation’s government to take action against the company.
Authorities also blamed the use of illegal fishing gear by local fishermen, which left many juvenile fishes dead and trashed on the beach.
Golden Lead Factory and denied polluting the environment and insists it is in accord with waste management procedures and environmental regulations.
More than 3,000 Chinese fishing trawlers are in West African waters to meet the demand of its large population.
Senegal last week seized at least seven Chinese vessels that were allegedly fishing illegally in its waters.
A Senegalese patrol boat intercepted the vessels off the coast of Senegal’s southern Casamance region on Friday.
West Africa has some the richest fish stocks in the world, but they are being rapidly depleted by industrial trawlers, some operating illegally.
A study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science estimates West Africa’s annual losses from illegal and unregulated fishing at $2.3 billion.