By NGAKE N. AMOURETTE & NJOCK OBEN N. KIMORA (UB journalism students on internship)
Limbe, the town of friendship, Fako Divisional Head quarters, South West region of Cameroon, is a historical town when it comes to fishing, as there is the presence of the Atlantic Ocean where the fishing activity is being carried-out, year after year, season after season. Dockyard, a commercial fishing site in Down Beach Limbe, is the neighbourhood which harbours many actors, notably foreigners from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana etc, who have settled in the area to make good of the fishing business.
Despite the constant supply and sale of fish in the Limbe market, the fishing business is nonetheless facing some challenges. Speaking to The SUN, some of the stakeholders brought out a number of challenges as far as the business is concerned.
According to two fishermen at the Dockyard neighbourhood, Emeka Thomas Thompson and his uncle whose only name The SUN got as Nonso, they explained that they face the challenge of buyers battling over the prices of fish, without taking into consideration their labour, risk and transportation cost, mentioning that fish do not only come from the ‘Limbe water’ but also from that of Tiko and Douala.
In a discussion with a fisherman whose only name The SUN got as Arnisee, he laments bitterly about the current hard times, blaming the government and Chinese, for fish scarcity, alleging that each time they set out to fish, the military always accompany them and in the course of fishing, they (military) place barriers preventing fishermen from going towards certain areas and if the fishermen go contrary to their orders, they start firing their boat with bullets and destroy it in the process. “The Chinese men go as far as catching smaller fishes and the eggs of the fish. We do not control our boats as it is the wave and current that takes us to the various areas”, Arnisee explained.
For Patricia Oman, a fish buyer, though she comes from Muyuka to buy fish and tries to be early before the fishermen go for fishing, upon her arrival, she is often left empty handed, as her fellow buyers buy all the fish without having in mind the interest of other buyers. At times, she goes back home disappointed without serving the purpose for which she came, Oman told The SUN.
Equally, another fisherman, Henry, mentioned that the fishing process sometimes is slowed down when water overflows its banks, and some fishermen who are not experts in swimming do not set out for the sea as they may risk their lives in the process.
Fishermen in Limbe are pleading with the government to bear with them and put an end to some of the barriers at sea, as well as caution the Chinese people to endeavour that they catch just the bigger fishes and let go of the minor ones to grow.