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Last Updated:[01-04-2010 08:14:24 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Cameroon Pet Fishers Start to Earn More via WB-backed Project

tradenews A sustainable aquaculture program developed by the World Fish Centre (WFC) with the sponsorship from the World Bank (WB) is bringing about a change among the ornamental fishing communities of Cameroon. The sustainable aquarium fish-breeding program is believed to directly feed the demands of the global aquarium fish industry worth about $570mn.

Many species of popular aquarium fish come from West Africa, specifically from the Lower Guinean rain-forest in Cameroon, reported VOANews. Europe, the US and Japan are regarded as the largest importers of pet fishes.

The WFC has set up a network of fishing communities around the Southern and Central Cameroon, and imparted training programs to improve the handling of all kind of fishes. Subsequently, the centre ensured that the fishers in the ornamental fish industry received fair wages. Species such as the shimmering epiplatys, striped barbus jae and the red-toothed pungu are collected in streams and river basins with hand-held nets, and fishers received up to 20 cents for each fish.

Randall Brummett, a senior scientist in Cameroon with the WFC said he came up with the project after a veterinarian at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris informed him that 90 percent of the pet fish shipments arrived dead. The project is understood to have overcome a major hurdle by extending the survival rate of the fish by 90 percent at the port of entry as against the two weeks’ shelf life of the aquarium companies of Cameroon.

However, he admitted that current storage facility, operated in conjunction with the sustainable aquarium fish company Gulf Aquatics was not big enough to hold the amount of fish supplied. He further added the WFC was trying to increase the storage facility to reach out to all remote rural communities in Cameroon to optimize their profits by getting rid of middlemen from the business process.

It has been understood that the project has yielded good results as many companies those paid lower wages have vanished from the markets owing to the WFC’s longer survival package. Brummett claimed “The fishers make about five or six times more than they used to, the main reason being that our survival rate is up to over 90 percent now.”

By Jose Roy

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