Situated off the east African coast, Madagascar has some of the richest fishing stocks on the continent. Its vast waters, however, are open to illegal, usually foreign, plunder.
Fishing statistics in Madagascar are poorly recorded but in 2008, an estimated 130, 000 tons of fish were caught in Madagascar. But illegal fishing from foreign trawlers is threatening the livelihood of an estimated 100,000 people.
These foreign pirate ships operate at night and are rarely caught, switching off their radio identification signals to evade police patrols.
Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest countries with an income capita of just US$419, has just 11 police speed boats to patrol its 4828 kilometre coast.
Under the cover of darkness, gangs from massive Chinese, Thai and South-Korean vessels, bring down illegal fishing nets fitted with deep hooks to trap high-value fish such as prawns, mackerel, tuna, shark and trout, which are then sold for a significant profit in the markets of Beijing, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur.