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Here it is at last, for all of you who asked for it!

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I have at last managed to lay my hands on a digital version of the Sportfishing Challenge 2000!

This 3 part program, sponsored in totality by EFTTA was designed for the promotion of recreationnal fishing to the European non angling community.

The program was co-produced by EFTTA, The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association and a leading British television production company Chrysalis TV and by Vision Ltd, a British company specialised in organising sporting events.

This program was designed to project a positive image of Sportfishing to the younger generations and incline them to take up the sport.

It was a program that had been orientated to attract the eye of the NON SPORTFISHING POPULATION.
It was not a program designed to please those who already practised the sport.

18 young Europeans from 6 different countries took part in the program, most of them had never seen a fishing rod before in their life.
Filmed in Namibia, on the Zambezi and the Chobe rivers and in South Africa, on the Wild Coast near Port St Johns, the three 15 minute programs of the Sportfishing Challenge 2000 were broadcasted several times on Eurosport TV in most European countries, reaching out to millions of new potential anglers.
The program achieved it’s main purpose which was to use the mass media to promote and improve the image of Recreationnal Fishing in Europe.

It is a shame that the general apathy that seems to be the usual trend in the European Fishing Tackle Trade did not allow these programs to continue. A second series was planned to be filmed in Costa Rica
and ASA (The American Sportfishing association) and JAFTMA (Japan Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association) were invited to participate in the sponsoring and send teams, but unfortunately the project ended up being cancelled through lack of interest and lack of budgets.

I renew my extended thanks to all the participants who will at last be able to relive this wonderful experience: Our young (not so young today!) anglers, the team at Inchigo Chobe River Lodge link to Ichingo C.R. Lodge and the population of Port St Johns who cared for us as if we were family.

I also extend my greetings to my old friends at Vision PR and to the Chrysalis TV filming team.

My sincere thanks go to John Nolan, Head of Commercial and Digital Content at North One, for making this internet posting possible.

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sunken-fishing-vesselsHaving emptied the European seas of fish, industrial fishing trawlers are now targeting Africa. But in places like Senegal, where the sea is the nation’s main resource, the EU’s fishing policies are devastating the country. Unable to compete with this ‘European Invasion’, Senegalese fishermen are being driven out of business. This expertly crafted film examines the scale of the problem.
Again and again, Amadi casts his fishing net into the sea, only to pull it back empty. “Sometimes we’re out for days before we find any fish”, he laments. “It’s a real disaster!” He blames the EU trawlers for “invading us and taking away our fish”. As the seas empty, fishermen like him are forced to risk their lives going further and further into deeper water search of fish. “We mustn’t be afraid of death”, he states.

At the fish processing plant in Kayar, the scale of the industry’s collapse is apparent. “All the big, high quality fish are now gone”, complains one worker. “We did rituals to bring the fish back but it was no good”. Some species of fish have disappeared entirely from this region. “I don’t think anybody really knows if those species will come back, even with good management”, states Paul Siegel from WWF Africa.

The EU’s agreement with Senegal allows European commercial fishing trawlers to fish in Senegalese waters. These industrial vessels, equipped with sonar radars; “can now see any fish at any level in the water column. There is nowhere to hide”. Even manufacturers agree their vessels; “contribute to the destruction of the seabed”. But with demand for fish growing; “a fisherman who doesn’t keep up with modern methods is a fisherman without a future!”

“Why West African countries concluded these fishing agreements at extreme disadvantage to themselves is a matter for some speculation”, states journalist Charles Clover. “I would be very surprised if some form of corruption was not involved”. Union representative Amadou Wade is still bitter about the way the agreement was negotiated. “We went to Brussels and had eight rounds of talks”, he recalls. But when it came to the ninth round, “We weren’t even invited. None of us knew anything about it.” They heard on the radio; “the negotiations were over and the agreement had been signed!”

It’s believed that 50% of Senegal’s fish is now caught by industrial trawlers and shipped straight to Europe. “The remaining 50% has to provide a living for 600,000 people!”, states environmentalist Haidar El Ali. While the Europeans pinpoint the fish with their radars, the Senegalese; “fish at night because the moonlight reflects on the fish scales”. They also rely on superstition. “I put some powder and roots in the ‘gri gri’ and give it to the fishermen”, states a village spiritual leader. “It allows them to see the fish and protects them from accidents”.

It’s estimated that within 10 years, there will be no more fish in the water of Senegal. “The last resource of people in Senegal is the sea. We are increasing pressure on that last resource at a time when it is declining and the population is growing”, states Charles Clover. “We need to start putting this right very soon otherwise Europe will be seen to be responsible for a gigantic human tragedy”.  find out more about it on journeyman.tv

Cafi Mohamud

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