Reconstructing fisheries catches for Cameroon between 1950 and 2010

Total catches for Cameroon, West Africa, are reconstructed to include sectors that were unaccounted or not properly accounted for, i.e., parts of the artisanal sector, the subsistence sector, bycatch and discards of the industrial sector, as well as illegal foreign fisheries. Reconstructed catches were estimated at 15,000 t in 1950 (compared to 12,000 t reported by the FAO on behalf of Cameroon), increased to a first peak of 89,300 t in 1977, declined to 61,900 t in 1986, then increased again to reach a peak of 115,000 t in 2003 (FAO: 62,800 t), before declining to 80,100 t in 2010 (around 15,100 t higher than the data supplied to the FAO). Overall, there are two main discrepancies between reconstructed data and the data supplied to the FAO: the former are 40% higher than the latter and the trend of the former is consistent with an over-exploitation status of marine fisheries resources of Cameroon, while the FAO data, which shows a pattern of increasing catches, are not. Artisanal fisheries, and thus fish species that are consumed locally, such as sardinellas and bonga shad make up for most catches. This further denotes the relatively important role fisheries play for food security in Cameroon.

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