West African Fishmeal Factories Deplete Stocks, Pollute Water

Gambia, like many of its West African neighbours, has embraced the lucrative production of fishmeal. But the booming aquaculture industry, widely hailed by conservationists as the best hope for slowing ocean depletion, is polluting waters, decimating fish stocks and threatening the lives of millions worldwide.

In the dramatic 14-minute video report below, the investigative journalist Ian Urbina probes the impact of fishmeal factories and foreign trawlers in West Africa, exposing how a fifth of all marine life pulled from the sea is ground up to feed farmed fish and why solutions meant to combat ocean depletion could be accelerating the problem.

The report is one of a series of films produced by The Outlaw Ocean Project, which is dedicated to reporting on the human rights violations and environmental crimes which are committed with impunity on the open seas, where 50 million people work.

In April, AllAfrica published a report by Urbina on the video-recorded murder of the occupants of an East African fishing dhow by a vessel which was part of a fleet known for aggressive behaviour towards smaller artisanal boats. Other reports documenting violations across the globe can be viewed on the project's website. Ian Urbina explains the series here »

  • Africa:  Free For All On the World's Oceans

    The Outlaw Ocean Project, 17 April 2023

    The award-winning investigative journalist Ian Urbina explains the video documentary series on human rights and environmental crimes committed on the oceans. Documentaries on… Read more »


Victory 205 is one of the fishing vessels boarded by Gambian officials. It reportedly fished close to the coast, and its sleeping conditions for crew were appalling.

A series of video documentaries produced by the The Outlaw Ocean Project. Full credits can be viewed at the end of each video..

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