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Local Fishing : South West Remains Promise Land

Blessed with its openness to sea and endowed with inland rivers, the Region has the potential to pro

For a better understanding of fish production, aquatic experts have segmented the domain of fishing into three main sectors namely inland fishing, artisan maritime fishing, and industrial maritime fishing. In the just ended year (2017), inland fishing produced, as reported by authorities of fishing, some 80.522 tons of fish in the South West Region. Persons or groups practicing inland fishing for subsistence or commercial purposes are found in all six administrative Divisions of the South West Region. Inland fishing is done in rivers, ponds or creeks. This sector is racing up in the South West Region thanks to the financial and educational field investment by government services of the Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA) and the Ministry of Research and Scientific Innovation. These Ministries use facilities like IRAD Batoke near Limbe and others in Ekona and Kumba to vulgarise fishing among the population. Furthermore, some 2,741 tons of fish were produced locally in 2016 within the framework of Agropoles, a government programme aimed at supporting private initiative.

The sector of artisan maritime fishing yielded some 3919.11 tons of fish last year in the South West Region. This sector is chiefly dominated by foreigners from Benin, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia who colonise the coastal area of the South West from Limbe to the Bakassi zone in Ndian Division. These are experts in local boat fabrication and sea going. The unfortunate thing about this sector is that most of the fish caught in Cameroon waters is sold elsewhere and only a minute quantity is marketed for local consumption in Cameroon. It becomes extremely difficult to control a domain that is in the hands of foreigners, natives being so reticent to engage in fishing. 

Industrial maritime fishing in the South West generated some 3181.26 tons of fish mostly destined for the international market. Most Cameroonians fronting in this sector, experts say, sublet to Chinese interests that are better equipped for maritime fishing. Complaints about this sector generally border on illegal catch of fingerlings that ought to be left for regeneration. Also, those practicing in the sector often go beyond their quotas of catch. To boost fishing in Cameroon, the State created a maritime school in Limbe which went operational  two years ago to train in maritime domains including fishing, sea faring and sea technologies. It is hoped that before long Cameroonians would emerge in fishing and fill the lost gap. 

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