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Depletion of fishing resources deepen row among locals in Cameroon, Chad

A Chadian fisherman holds his catch on the shores of Lake Chad near the village of Tagal in Southern Chad on November 8, 2018.   -  
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Along the Logone River, which is shared by Cameroon and Chad, fishermen engage in artisanal fishing.

The locals here live mainly from fishing, a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce.

After six hours of fishing, Ahmadou Baba, a Chadian fisherman, returns to the banks of the river with little catch.

"When I was a child, we could get fish just with hooks. Now, people leave from far away such as Oussi to Leena over there, to get fish. Before, when we used to go out like this, women would even come here, and they could get fish. Now there is no fish there," Ahmadou said.

The scarcity of fish resources has become a source of tension between the two communities, who accuse each other of using unsuitable fishing gear. They claim some fishing nets are extremely extensive and large.

"Our studies show that there are a number+ of problems. Cohabitation is a problem, access to fish resources is becoming scarce. In addition to being scarce, fishing practices are becoming progressively illicit with the use of ill-adapted fishing gear, which is not suitable for fishing People are now experiencing low catch and there is also a resurgence of conflicts," Armel Mewouth Bridge Project Coordinator at Lake Chad Basin Commission said.

Faced with these various conflicts, the Cameroonian and Chadian authorities, under the Lake Chad Basin Commission, met in Bongor, a Chadian border town located two kilometers from the Cameroonian town of Yagoua. 

Meetings were held with local residents, particularly fishermen. The authorities of both countries called on the fishermen to calm down and live together.

"We can say that there are resources, only that people do not respect the environmental sustainability, because we always sign an order prohibiting fishing from 1 July to 30 September. So, it's three months and it's this period that we have called biological rest, to allow the fish to reproduce. And there are people who cheat at night, they go fishing," Manou Diguir, a commissioner revealed

The commission further recommended that those living along the Logone River should also practice agriculture so as not to deplete fishing resources.