DAKAR (AFP) – Conservation organisation Greenpeace on Friday urged west African countries to combat illegal fishing and over-fishing in their waters, in a statement released at the World Social Forum in Senegal.

"We must tirelessly engage with authorities to ensure that the problems of illegal fishing and over-fishing in west Africa are effectively dealt with," Oumy Sene Diouf, Greenpeace Africa oceans campaigner, said in the statement at the forum, an annual gathering of anti-globalisation activists.

In a report released at the forum called "How Africa feeds Europe", the group said massive European fishing vessels are putting pressure on west African fish stocks as they increase their catch capacity and marine stocks in their own waters decline.

"The people of Senegal have long shown interest in defending their ocean and preserving their marine resources. The time has come for them to take the next step and stand up against malpractices in the oceans," said Diouf.

The report quoted UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that more than 75 percent of all fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted.

In European waters, the level of overfishing is higher than the global average, with an estimated 88 percent of European fish stocks in a poor state.

Greenpeace also urged African nations at the summit to focus on renewable energy.

"Africa is the continent with the greatest potential and resources to build an economy solely reliant on renewable energy, and especially solar. This is the only way the continent will free itself from the tyranny of fossil fuels, and other dirty energy sources," said Christian Gyr of Greenpeace Swiss Energy solutions project.