If Europeans Take Our Fish, They Can Take Our People Too

I was doubly pleased to see this report up at the BBC. Not only does it break with the “immigrants: string ’em up” tone endemic to British journalism on the subject, but it makes direct connections between the food system and migration.

Pape Barro is another young man who sees no future in Senegal.

When we met, he was sealing up the cracks in an old fishing boat, preparing it, coincidentally, for his third attempt to reach the Canaries.

For years, he and his colleagues had been making a modest but respectable living in their small, open boats and hand-cast nets.

But now, the fisheries have collapsed.

Waving his hand over the horizon, Pape blamed Europeans for the crisis.

“The only thing that has changed in recent years,” he said, “is the arrival of big foreign trawlers just off shore, that sweep up far more from the sea than the Senegalese fleet has ever done.

“If Europeans take our fish they can take our people too.”

And it doesn’t look like the Europeans are going to stop taking Senegalese fish, or even their own, though the world may perish. Not only has the EU chosen quotas vastly higher than those advised by its own scientists, it has, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, condemned to extinction the Mediterreanean Bluefin Tuna. Such is the casual savagery of the fishing industry giants.

And, when the seas are empty and fishing communities unemployed, is it likely that the avarice and profiteering of the large-scale fishing industry will be held to account? Or will immigrants provide, as always, a convenient punch bag?