Turkey has become the leading importer of fishmeal from occupied Western Sahara. The aquaculture company Gümüşdoğa turns the meal into valuable fisheries products for the European market.
On 6 November 2019, WSRW witnessed the arrival of the cargo vessel Derya Aytekin as it arrived at the port of Gulluk, Turkey. The vessel’s hold was entirely loaded with white bags of fishmeal from occupied Western Sahara. A large crane loaded the meal over to waiting trucks, which WSRW followed from the port to the factory of Gümüşdoğa A.S, a 15-minute drive away. The Turkish importer operates a fishmeal factory and sea-cage farms for production of sea bass and sea bream. It is one of Turkey’s largest producers and suppliers of these species, exported to Europe in fresh or frozen form. The Derya Aytekin shipment is the fifteenth such transport from El Aaiun to Gulluk in 2019 alone, from what WSRW understands. Except an occasional delivery to Bremen, the trade to Turkey practically equals the entire export of fishmeal from the territory. In 2017, Turkey was the main supplier of sea bass and gilthead sea bream (most of which was farmed) into the EU market. Of 51.208 tonnes of European sea bass and gilthead sea bream imported to the EU in 2017, a staggering 98% originated in Turkey - a “historic high” import volume. Gümüşdoğa’s trade to Europe seems to be represented by Dalga, an Athens-based trading company. WSRW today wrote to Gümüşdoğa and Dalga, requesting a termination of the imports from occupied Western Sahara. More info and video footage here.
Photo: Panama-flagged ship Derya Ayetkin, operated by the TUrkish company Efemey, loaded and docked at the port of Gulluk, Turkey. Source: WSRW.