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Agreement on strategy for more sustainable shrimp fishery in Cameroon

FISH4ACP starts upgrade of value chain to stabilise shrimp stocks and support economic growth and livelihoods

25 October 2022, Yaoundé – Over 50 stakeholders and experts, donor representatives and development partners today agreed on a long-term plan for a more sustainable shrimp sector which supports economic growth and livelihoods. The agreement marks the start of FISH4ACP’s activities in Cameroon aimed at unlocking the full potential of its marine shrimp value chain.   

“Shrimp is our main seafood export product and a major contributor to economic growth and the incomes of many families in Cameroon,” said Dr Taiga, Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries at a ceremony in Yaoundé to launch a ten-year strategy for the sustainable development of the shrimp value chain. “However, it is essential to make the sector future proof by ensuring that shrimp stocks are managed sustainably.” 

The strategy is the result of a sector-wide dialogue on how to bolster the economic, social and environmental sustainability of Cameroon’s shrimp sector. In essence, it proposes to keep catches at current levels and take steps to increase shrimp sales on high value markets to support economic growth and improve livelihoods.  

The strategy is based on a value chain analysis spearheaded by FISH4ACP, an initiative of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) implemented by FAO with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), to make fish value chains more productive and sustainable. 

“Increasing the productivity and competitiveness of Cameroon’s shrimp sector without compromising stocks and the environment is a great example of the sustainable development that we support,” said the representative of the German embassay in Cameroon, adding: “FISH4ACP demonstrates that it is possible to work on a sustainable and responsibly managed fishery while stimulating economic growth and creating jobs.” 

With an estimated yearly production of 4 200 tonnes from industrial and over 1 000 tonnes from artisanal fishing and employing around 1 800 predominantly young people, the shrimp value chain is worth around USD 30 million per year and profitable for all the actors involved – industrial and artisanal fishers, processors, wholesalers and retailers.  

“The value chain analysis found that Cameroon’s shrimp fishery offers great potential for growth, but also showed that growth needs to go hand in hand with environmental sustainability,” said Athman Mravili, FAO Representative in Cameroon, adding: “That’s why the upgrading strategy targets growth without increasing catches.”   

Athman Mravili explained that FISH4ACP is going to work to improve stock management and monitoring of fishing activities to enable better management of Cameroon’s shrimp fishery and lessen its impact on the environment. The initiative will also work to bring value chain actors together and build their capacities to ensure that FISH4ACP’s efforts will last beyond the of the initiative in 2025.  

By strengthening the business and sanitary environment, he continued, FISH4ACP strives to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the shrimp sector, promoting access to high-value markets, including the European Union, which would bring benefits to the local economy and foster employment, in particular for women and youth.