(Business in Cameroon) - During a recent videoconference with the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), Cameroon, though the Minister of Commerce Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, expressed its opposition to some parties pushing the WTO to classify artisanal fishing as illegal fishing.
"As Cameroon does not consider artisanal fishing as part of the agreement being elaborated, this type of fishing should be excluded from the scope of the said agreement because, artisanal fishing contributes to food security, fights poverty, and” provides jobs, he said. Under international law, artisanal fishing is illegal. For instance, earlier this year, the European Union Commission issued a yellow card to Cameroon for facilitating the development of artisanal fishing.
But for Mbarga Atangana, instead of flagging artisanal fishing as illegal, the text should include four notable points. Those four points are namely the effective prohibition of some subsidies to large industrial groups operating in the sector, the recognition of state primacy when it comes to the ascertainment of water boundaries infringement under the international laws in force, guarantees for effective sanctions against operators guilty of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as the inclusion of the polluter pays principle in the responsibility and obligations of the involved parties.
Those suggestions were recorded, and they will be reviewed for possible validation by the TNC. According to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the WTO, the final agreement adopted by the various parties will facilitate the elaboration of a sustainable fishing policy.