Dirty fishmeal production in Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Stated by the Minister of Fishing as 'the price for development,' the city of Nouadhibou is experiencing grave health consequences from its fishmeal production.


Description

The wind is always blowing in the city of Nouadhibou, which today is laced with toxic particles and the putrid smell of fish meal production. Nouadhibou sits on the edge of the Atlantic and has a population of nearly 120,000 people, many of which have become greatly disturbed by the growth of enterprises producing farine du poisson (eng. fishmeal) or locally known as MOKA in the city. The city hosts a busy port that exports a number of Mauritania’s minerals and natural resources extracted from the interior. Well connected by railways and roads, this port city’s wharf was reconstructed in 2011 to extend to its current length of 122,000 square meters. Yet, while the loading and export of up to 320,000 tons of cargo occurs daily on the wharf, only one commodity has developed into a conflict amongst the population of Nouadhibou: fishmeal (MOKA). 

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Basic Data
NameDirty fishmeal production in Nouadhibou, Mauritania
CountryMauritania
ProvinceDahklet Nouadhibou
SiteNouadhibou
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific CommoditiesManufactured Products
Fish
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsBased on a report from 2012, Nouadhibou was producing approximately 64,000 tons of fishmeal per year, accounting for only five factories of fishmeal production [11]. Today, with nearly 23 factories in Nouadhibou, the tonnage is likely much higher. The majority of fishmeal is exported to Russia, with some going to Ghana, Morocco, Sudan, Portugal, and other countries. The fishing industry represents about 55,000 jobs in Mauritania, with possibly 90% of these jobs stemming from artisanal fishing [9]. But, the number of artisanal fishers is decreasing, in light of the pressure of industrial fishing on the resource base. The exports of fish products are estimated at 49% of total exports, amounting to 507 millions of USD in 2017 [9].
Level of Investment (in USD)507,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population120,000
Start Date01/01/2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesRim Fish Meal from Mauritania
Aussie Group SARL from Mauritania
Profifish Atlantic from United States of America
Alfa Service LTD from Mauritania
SOMASEP from Spain
OMAURCI SA
Somaesp S.A.R.L
MAH EL TURK Sarl
XIANGHESHUN-MAURITANIE SA
FARO FARINE
LEMSEAFOOD
Atyfen
SINO- RIM
SAHEL PROTEINE
AFRICA PROTEINE
Mauritania FISHMEAL SARL
CONTINENTAL SEA FOOD SA
MMOA PECHE FARINE ET HUILE
SF HP Sarl
AFRICA PECHE
OCEAN PROTEINE
ATLANTIC PROTEINE
COMAPECHE
MOUHIT AL BARAKA
ATLANTIC PECHE
SICOP Industries Sa
HONGDONG INTERNATIONAL FISHERY DEVELOPMENT FARINE ET HUILE
WINTERISATION MAURITANIA Sarl
COFRIMA PROTEINE Sarl
M.C.F Sarl
SOREC. SA
SEPP. SA
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Fisheries
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersl’Organisation pour la Promotion de la famille et pour la Défense de l’Environnement,

Greenpeace
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents
OtherAt least 187 women have had problems during their pregnancy on January 2017, which are considered to be linked with the contamination caused by fishmeal production factories. [6]
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesLocal small-scale fisher people aim the protection of their fishing rights, and compensation from vessels of industrial fishing that violate their fishing rights in coastal zones. Meanwhile, they demand a strict control of fishmeal factories so that they comply with established regulations.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.While the government responded to the protests from the people, it is not clear whether all fishmeal production is still complying with the regulations and has, in fact cleaned up the operations.
Sources and Materials
References

[14] DAI Europe. 2015. Etude sur l’évolution des pêcheries de petits pélagiques en Afrique du Nord-Ouest et impacts possibles sur la nutrition et la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique de l’Ouest Rapport final.
[click to view]

Links

[2] Standing 2017. Croissance De La Production De Farine De Poisson En Mauritanie: Implications Pour La Sécurité Alimentaire Régionale. CFFA-CAPE
[click to view]

[6] Jan 18 2017 Le Moka fait des ravages parmi la population de Nouadhibou
[click to view]

[10] 13-01-17 10:04 - NOUADHIBOU : MOKA, LE YEN A MARRE DES POPULATIONS
[click to view]

[15] List of registered fish processing plants in Nouadhibou according to the European Commission data (27 April, 2018)
[click to view]

[1] Karkoub 2017. La malédiction de l’industrie des farines de poisson à Nouadhibou. Dune Voices.
[click to view]

[5] Jan 2017 La malédiction de l’industrie des farines de poisson à Nouadhibou
[click to view]

[9] Mauritanie : l’Etat étouffe la pêche locale au profit des étrangers
[click to view]

[4] Décret n°2012-072 du 12 Mars 2012. Ministère des Pêches et de l’Economie Maritime
[click to view]

[7] Nov 2017 FERMETURE DES USINES MOKA À NOUADHIBOU
[click to view]

[3] Ahmed Ould Cheikh. Usines de farine de poisson à Nouadhibou : Danger sur la ville. Le Calame
[click to view]

Media Links

[12] Video: Farine du poisson 12
[click to view]

[13] Facebook Page: MOKA Met Nouadhibou en danger
[click to view]

[11] Presentation on fishmeal production
[click to view]

[8] Etude diagnostique de la filière de la farine et de l’huile de poisson en Mauritanie et au niveau et international
[click to view]

Other Documents

Fish Waste Fish waste piled on beach in Nouadhibou (Dune Voices)
[click to view]

Fish Waste 2 Man observing the fish waste on Nouadhibou's coastline (Dune Voices Jan 2017)
[click to view]

Trawlers in Mauritania Trawler hauling out fish in Mauritanian waters
[click to view]

Protest MOKA Nouadhibou More than 1,000 people protested the fishmeal production in Jan 2017.
[click to view]

Nouadhibou and Parc National Banc d'Arguin The protected area is just south of Nouadhbou
[click to view]

Fishmeal Factory Processing fish at fishmeal factory in nouadhibou. Cape-CFFA.
[click to view]

Other CommentsThere are many sources in Arabic, which I am not able to read.
Meta Information
ContributorJulie Snorek, [email protected]
Last update14/05/2018
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