Graft rampant in fishing industry
Publish date: 07 October 2019
Issue Number: 844
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Cameroon's fisheries sector earns 1.8% of the country's estimated US$35bn GDP and employs more than 200 000 people. Despite its importance, the maritime fisheries sector is plagued with largely hidden, or ignored, fisheries crimes. In an analysis in The Conversation, Maurice Beseng says his research over the past three years has revealed an endemic problem of corruption, fraud and the illegal exploitation of and trade in endangered marine species. ‘I also found a link between the fisheries sector and wider transnational crimes such as the smuggling of contraband, weapons and immigrants. Because of the hidden nature of these offences it's difficult to quantify the impact they've had on Cameroon. There are some insights. For instance, based on government statistics, illegal fishing in Cameroonian waters costs the country about $33m every year.’ He notes that if graft is not tackled quickly, these crimes will continue to compromise government efforts to raise income from taxes generated from the sector. ‘Moreover, it will affect the livelihood of millions of people that depend on the sector through job losses, and access to essential food and nutritional security,’ he added.