Fishermen in Cameroon are urging authorities to crack down on hundreds of illegal fishers and fish farmers operating in the Gulf of Guinea after the European Union banned imports of Cameroon’s seafood.
There are several hundred fishers in Idenau, a coastal village near Cameroon’s western border with Nigeria, authorities in the capital, Yaoundé, say, while most of their catch is exported to neighboring states as well as to Europe, many of the fishermen operating in Cameroon’s waters in the Gulf of Guinea are not registered and are not from Cameroon.
The EU announced the ban on Cameroon-caught seafood on January 5, citing a zero-tolerance policy for illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing that threatens ocean resources and saying the country was not cooperating in that regard.
Besides Cameroonians, Togolese, Beninese, Ghanaians and Nigerians, and the Chinese are reportedly very involved in either semi-industrial or industrial fish farming in Cameroon’s part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Local fishermen say that boats prefer fishing in Cameroon’s waters because neighboring Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria have firm military controls to stop illegal fishing. Cameroon’s Fish Farmers Associations met Wednesday, January 11 in Yaoundé to discuss the issues. China has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said it has tightened oversight of deep-sea fishing boats.