The Brussels executive has announced that it will propose to EU member states that Cameroon be added to the blacklist of “non-cooperating” countries whose fisheries products are banned from the European market. This was stated in a press release issued by the European Commission on Thursday 5 January 2023.
Cameroonian fish will be excluded from the European market. The European Union commission reproaches the Cameroonian authorities for not having done anything to curb illegal fishing. In February 2021, the European Union had already given a warning (yellow card) to Paul Biya’s country, pointing to the ‘inability’ of the authorities ‘to ensure adequate control of the national fishing fleet’.
But, according to the European Commissioner for Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkervicius, Cameroon has ‘continued to register fishing vessels operating outside its waters without any monitoring of their activities’.
“We have zero tolerance for IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the Commission has therefore acted decisively today to show Cameroon the red card,” wrote the Commissioner.
The EU Commission has also stated that illegal fishing is “one of the most serious threats to the sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources”. Since 2013, the Commission has issued six red cards to countries declared “non-cooperating”. These are Belize, Cambodia, Comoros, Guinea, Sri Lanka and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Among these countries, Belize, Guinea and Sri Lanka have made the changes required to get off the blacklist.
According to the Commission, 26 tonnes of fish are caught illegally each year, which represents about 15% of the total catch worldwide. Illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing is worth between 10 and 20 billion euros each year.