Since the 2000s, maritime security threats in the Gulf of Guinea region have been of growing international concern. In many countries, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is one such problem with negative impacts on environmental, food and national security and links with wider maritime crime. Focussing on Cameroon, this article argues that there has been a securitisation of the fisheries sector within the broader context of changes in maritime security governance in the Gulf of Guinea. The article examines the process and implications of the securitisation of Cameroon’s fisheries sector. Using documents, direct observations, and in-depth interviews with state agents and actors of civil society organisations (CSOs), the article illustrates how the fisheries sector was securitised through a range of linguistic, institutional, and structural mechanisms. The institutional and structural mechanisms were highly militarised with the increased deployment of military forces in monitoring, control and surveillance of fishery activities. These changes, the article concludes, subsequently diminished the agency and capacity of non-military state and civil society actors in fisheries governance and undermines their role in cooperative efforts within the broader maritime security architecture that now operates in Cameroon.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
The first author is grateful to Coventry University for the Research Studentship funding. Both authors are grateful to colleagues for proofreading the manuscript. We would like to thank the coastal communities of Southwest Cameroon for their inspiration and time during data collection for this study. We appreciate their insight and resilience which has greatly challenged us to highlight the issues raised in this study. We also thank the editor and all the anonymous reviewers for their very useful comments during the review process.
© 2021 King’s College London.
FunderFunding Information: The first author is grateful to Coventry University for the Research Studentship funding.
- Gulf of Guinea
- Maritime security
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations
- Security and Resilience