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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2007)

    Additional information

    1. FAO Thematic data bases
    2. Publications
    3. Meetings & News archive

    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefUpdated 03-2017

    Current situation

    With a territory of 475 442 km2 and a population of about 22.3 million inhabitants in 2013, Cameroon has a relatively short coastline of 402 km and an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) estimated at 14 500 km2; relatively weak currents and upwelling systems make the maritime area only moderately productive. Total capture production in 2015 was estimated around 239 000 tonnes, 75 000 tonnes from inland waters and 164 000 tonnes from marine waters, with small pelagics accounting for about 67 percent of the total marine catch.

    The majority of marine catch is supplied by approximately 18 400 artisanal fishers fishing along the entire coast and particularly in estuaries using mostly traditional gear such as bottom set and drift nets, encircling nets, traps and hand lines. A small industrial fleet has also emerged, consisting primarily of shrimp trawlers, which are however often operated in joint venture with distant fishing nations. In 2015, it was estimated that more than 2500 people were directly employed in offshore fisheries. Over 50 trawlers greater than 24 meters were reported for 2009 and more recent figures have not been reported. The total fleet reported was 12 700 vessels, with 4 000 unpowered and 7 200 powered vessels, all under 12 meters. Competition for access to the marine resources has occasionally led to conflicts between the industrial and artisanal fleets. Cameroon has also extensive inland water resources consisting of several large rivers, the main of which are the Benoué and the Sanaga. Cameroon also shares with three other countries a portion of the lake Chad. As of 2015, inland fisheries were estimated to employ more than 31 000 workers, who are also involved in the production of dried and smoked fish.

    Aquaculture production is still negligible. The total production level in 2015 was estimated at 840 tonnes valued at USD 2.8 million, mainly with Nile tilapia and some African catfish. 6 000 people in both full and part-time employment were reported for aquaculture.

    Current issues

    Fish is a preferred protein source for most Cameroonians and the national average fish consumption was estimated at 15.4 kg per person in 2013. However, fish production is not able to supply the demand for fish in the country, leading the government to import large quantity of fish products per year during the past decade. Increasing imports and low level of exports have led to a burgeoning seafood trade deficit, which had reached USD 324 million in 2011 but declined to USD 250 million in 2012. Concerns over the overexploitation of marine resources, an estimated 2.8 percent population growth rate and rapid urbanization have led the government to promote private-sector aquaculture to reduce the deficit in demand for fish. Aquaculture in freshwater was introduced in Cameroon in the late 1970s with three species, namely Nile tilapia, common carp and northern African catfish. Nile tilapia and African catfish are raised in mono- or polyculture. Common carp is cultured in cooler areas of the high-plateau near Bafoussam and Bamenda whilst Heterotis and Parachana are raised in polycultures with tilapias and/or catfish in the forest zone. There is an estimated annual aquaculture potential of 20 000 tonnes; however, fish farming is still poorly established and far from realizing its potential.

    Cameroon has been a Party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea since November 1985 and to the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement since August 2002.

    Cooperation with FAO

    Cameroon is a Member of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and several intergovernmental, regional and sub-regional fishery organizations, including the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the FAO Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF), the Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture of Africa (CIFAA) as well as the CIFAA Working Group on Aquaculture (ANAF), and the Regional Fisheries Committee for the Gulf of Guinea (COREP).

    [1] Prepared by FI&A – March 2017. All statistical figures are the latest available and have been cleared for accuracy by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department focal point.

    General geographic and economic indicators

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data - The Republic of Cameroon

    Shelf area 11 788 km2 Sea around us:
    Length of continental coastline 402 km
    Fisheries GVA (2014)

    XAF 161.2 billion

    USD 334 million *

    Institut National de la Statistique du Cameroun:
    * Calculated with the UN Operational Rates of Exchange

    Key statistics

    Country area475 440km2FAOSTAT. Expert sources from FAO (including other divisions), 2013
    Land area472 710km2FAOSTAT. Expert sources from FAO (including other divisions), 2013
    Inland water area2 730km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.23.192millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area15 210km2VLIZ
    GDP (current US$)38 675millionsWorld Bank. 2018
    GDP per capita (current US$)1 534US$World Bank. 2018
    Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added14.42% of GDPWorld Bank. 2018

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

    Table 2 – Employment and Fleet Statistics - The Republic of Cameroon

          1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 18.83 25.00 19.05 8.50 72.08 66.56 66.79
      Aquaculture ... ... ... 3.50 3.50 2.98 3.21
      Capture 18.83 25.00 19.05 5.00 68.58 63.58 63.58
        Inland 7.83 8.50 1.95 5.00 5.00 ... ...
        Marine 11.00 16.50 17.10 ... 63.58 63.58 63.58
    FLEET(thousands vessels) ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Updated 2007The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/fr/FI_CP_CM.pdf

    Additional information

    FAO Thematic data bases

    Meetings & News archive


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