(Business in Cameroon) – The EU Commission announced in a recent statement it is banning the export of fishery products from Cameroon. The red card was issued because the Commission considered the efforts made by the Cameroonian government to control illegal fishing as weak.
“We have zero tolerance for IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated, ed) fishing and therefore the Commission has acted strongly today by giving Cameroon a red card,” said the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius. As a reminder, the EU already sent a warning to the country in February 2021. Now, following the red card, the European Commission puts Cameroon on the list of countries whose fishery products are prohibited on EU territories.
However, this sanction is not expected to create significant economic setbacks since the EU is not a major importer of Cameroonian fish products. Also, Cameroon’s main fish product export is shrimp, which has been banned from export to Europe since 2004, due to non-compliance with hygiene standards in catching, processing, and conservation. The African country’s main partner in this market is Asia.
Some experts believe the new red card rather hides a battle between the EU and China to control fishery resources in Cameroon. Indeed, since local investors are not really into this market, industrial fishing in the country (and even artisanal fishing) is operated by foreigners, particularly Chinese. Despite its resources, Cameroon spends more than CFA100 billion in foreign currency each year to supply the local market with frozen fish, according to official estimates.
Written by BRM
Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN