CAMEROON – The European Union has banned Cameroonian fish products from its markets, labelling the country as “non-cooperating” in the fight against illegal and unregulated fishing.

The EU recently instructed that seafood caught In Cameroon waters or caught by the sipped flagged in Cameroon will no longer be accepted regardless of whether they have catch certificates validated by the national authorities.

Cameroon was given a ‘red card’ by the European Commission together with other non-EU countries like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Comoros and Cambodia.

In recent years, Cameroon has emerged as one of many countries that offer “flags of convenience” where companies can register their ships in a nation that has no links to them, at a fee.

It was found out after an investigation by The Associated Press, that 14 vessels that were owned and managed by companies based in EU states, were registered in Cameroon and had been accused of illegal and unregulated fishing.

The European Commission does not condone illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing as it is a grave threat to the sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources.

“We have zero tolerance for IUU 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.

This ban comes nearly two years after several warnings to Cameroonian authorities to step up their action against illegal fishing.

All hope is however not lost as the Commission made a commitment to lift the ban against Cameroon if the country implements a number of corrective measures.

EU will continue its dialogue with the Cameroonian authorities to come up with ways to help remedy the shortcomings.

The Commission informed the public in a recent press release that it will cooperate and support Cameroon to help improve its fisheries governance and ensure that the country meets its international obligations.

A spokesperson for Cameroon’s ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries could not be reached for a comment on the issue.

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