Cameroon Becomes a Go-To Country for Foreign Fishing Vessels

DOUALA, Cameroon — Off the coast of West Africa, the Trondheim is a familiar sight: a soccer field-sized ship, plying the waters from Nigeria to Mauritania as it pulls in tons of mackerel and sardines — and flying the red, yellow and green flag of Cameroon.

But aside from the flag, there is almost nothing about the Trondheim that is Cameroonian.

Once, it operated under the name of the King Fisher and sailed under the flag of the Caribbean nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Then it switched to Georgia, the former Soviet republic. It was only in 2019 that it began flying the banner of Cameroon.

The Trondheim is one of several vessels reflagged under Cameroon’s growing fishing fleet that have changed names and been accused of illicit activities at sea. Currently, an investigation by The Associated Press found, 14 of these vessels are owned or managed by companies based in European Union member states: Belgium, Malta, Latvia and Cyprus.

Local Cameroonian fishermen prepare fishing nets on their boats along the shores of Limbe beach, Cameroon, on April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Grace Ekpu)
A fishmonger displays barracuda for sale at a fresh fish market in Limbe, Cameroon, on April 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Grace Ekpu)
Fishmongers from Limbe, Cameroon, and neighboring communities wait at the shore for fishing boats to arrive with their catch at the shore on Limbe, on April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Grace Ekpu)



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