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Major European companies have been linked to the devastating consequences of the fishmeal and fish oil trade in West Africa according to a new report by Greenpeace and Changing markets. The report, Feeding a Monster: How European aquaculture and animal feed industries are stealing food from West African communities reveals how more than half a million tonnes of small pelagic fish are extracted every year along the coast of West Africa and converted into feed for aqua- and agriculture farming, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and pet food products outside the African continent. 

The environmental group pointed out that over half a million tonnes of fish used to produce fish meal and fish oil in the poor region could feed some 33 million people instead. Much of West Africa’s fishing grounds are already overexploited and illegal fishing is a persistent problem. Greenpeace said West Africa’s trade in fish meal and fish oil had grown tenfold between 2010 and 2019 – from about 13,000 tonnes to over 170,000 tonnes.