A variety of treaties and conventions determine what nation's vessels have the right to fish in what waters. When the status of these treaties changes conflicts over fishing rights can result.
In the 1990's inshore and offshore fishermen came into conflict over fishing rights ever more frequently. The conflict has been embittered by national governments granting large, usually European, Canadian or Asian companies generous rights to both offshore and inshore fishing in return for large fees. In Senegal these fees make up 70% of the government's annual revenue.
At the same time, the government has failed to take measures to protect the traditional local fisherman's rights and his supply of fish. The Senegalese fish supply has been further imperilled by the government issuing many fishing licenses to new Senegalese inshore fishermen.
In Senegal there was an 8% increase in the number of fishermen using traditional methods between 1991 and 1995, and a corresponding 8% increase in the number of fish caught. The competition for fish has now become fierce.