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Global initiative to support sustainable growth of Cameroon’s shrimp sector

FISH4ACP will promote economic growth and jobs creation while making sector more environment friendly

9 June 2021, Yaoundé – FISH4ACP, a global initiative supporting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development, has started operating in Cameroon to help the African nation make its shrimp sector more competitive and sustainable – and achieve economic growth, improve food security and reduce shrimp fishings’ ecological footprint.

“The name of our country comes from “camarão”, Portuguese for shrimp. This is what Portuguese sailors saw when they got here in 1472,” said Dr Taiga, Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, welcoming the launch of FISH4ACP in Cameroon today at an event in Douala, he economic capital. “Shrimp has become our main seafood export product and we believe that FISH4ACP will help us to increase exports, but also to create jobs and make the shrimp sector more environmentally friendly,” he added.

With a coastline spanning over 400 kilometers, Cameroon’s abundance of shrimp attracted the attention of 15th century explorers. Real industrial exploitation started by the 1950’s and today, the shrimp trade yields an estimated yearly production of 365 tonnes from industrial and 60 tonnes from artisanal fishing worth around EURO 2.5 million. The sector employs some 1 500 people and provides affordable and healthy food for large swathes of Cameroons population.

“Our ambition is to help this vibrant sector become stronger economically, socially and environmentally,” said Philippe Gatineau​, representing the European Union (EU), which is funding FISH4ACP along with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“FISH4ACP is the right programme to take up such a challenge,” he added. “Improving the productivity and competitiveness of the shrimp sector in an environmentally sustainable way will boost local incomes, meet domestic demand for nutritious food, while promoting access to high-value export markets.”

Cameroon is one of the twelve countries covered by FISH4ACP, an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and implemented by FAO and partners. It works to make fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific more productive and sustainable.

In Cameroon, FISH4ACP will start by conducting an in-depth analysis of the shrimp value chain. Its outcomes will define the programme’s agenda for the years to come. “This is exemplary of FISH4ACP’s novel approach,” said Athman Mravili​, FAO’s Representative in Cameroon. “Innovative solutions are needed to face the multidimensional challenge of sustainable fisheries development,” he said.

Looking ahead, he added that in Cameroon FISH4ACP could focus on supporting small business, helping them to meet domestic demand and gaining access to high-value export markets. At the same time, the initiative would help creating jobs, especially for women and youth, and improve working conditions by strengthening the business and regulatory environment. In addition, FISH4ACP would support initiatives to improve stock management and reduce by-catch to make Cameroon’s shrimp sector more environmentally sustainable.