On 4 August, Dryad Global reported that Cameroon’s growing fishing fleet have been accused of illicit activities at sea. Currently, an investigation by the Associated Press found that 14 of these vessels are owned or managed by companies based in EU member states: Belgium, Malta, Latvia and Cyprus. the Vessels involved changed flags to Cameroon between 2019 and 2021, though they had no obvious link to the country and did not fish in its waters. In recent years, Cameroon has emerged as one of several go-to countries for the widely criticised “flags of convenience” system. Such ships are supposed to abide by that nation’s fishing agreements with other countries, but experts say weak oversight and enforcement of fishing fleets by countries with open registries like Cameroon offer shipping companies a veil of secrecy that allows them to mask their operations. Cameroon has long been criticised for lax oversight of its fishing fleet. Data from maritime intelligence companies reveals an accelerated growth in the number of vessels that sail under the Cameroonian flag in the past 4 years, from 14 vessels in 2018 to more than 129 in 2022.
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