Fisheries resources in Cabo Verde are exploited by national and foreign vessels. The latter obtain authorization to fish in the EEZ of the country following fisheries contracts and agreements signed between Cabo Verde and foreign countries or ship-owners.

All vessels, national and foreign, must obtain a fishing licence to operate in the country’s EEZ. For local vessels, the licence for artisanal fishing can be obtained free of charge from the port authority after inspection of the vessel. Industrial and semi-industrial fishing is subject to the payment of a symbolic fee, currently set at € 550.00 per year for tuna vessels.

Artisanal fisheries

In 2016, the artisanal fleet in Cabo Verde adds up to a total of 1,688 vessels, most of which are “boats” employing over 10,200 people. Total catches for this year stand at 4,400 tons, of which about 30% were tuna, 35% small pelagics, 28% demersal fish, and less than 6% sharks, molluscs, shellfish and other species.

Industrial fisheries

In 2016, the industrial and semi-industrial fleet comprised 91 vessels with lengths varying between 9 and 26 m, engine power between 19 and 500 HP, tonnage between 2.5 and 121 gross registered tons, and a crew of 8 to 14 members. These general include 30-year old tuna vessels, lobster boats and seine boats belonging to private operators. Total catches in the semi-industrial sub-sector for this year stands at 9,840 tons, of which about 66% were tuna, 22% small pelagics, 10% demersal fish, and less than 2% sharks, molluscs, shellfish and other species.

State of the resource

The overall potential in waters under the jurisdiction of Cabo Verde varies between 36,000 and 44,000 tons per year for an overall catch level of 10,000 tons per year. Tuna presents a potential of 25,000 tons for an average catch level of 6,000 tons per year. This estimated potential does not however include many species present in the national EEZ such as molluscs, cephalopods, sharks, sea turtles and certain demersal species found in rocky shoals as well as other resources in the deep waters whose potential is unknown.

Demersal species are mostly harvested by artisanal fishers. They offer a very limited potential estimated at about one thousand tons. The stock of lobsters was highly over-exploited and access is now strictly restricted.

The abundance of small coastal pelagics is also low, but there is still some potential for artisanal fishers using ringnets and gillnets.

The only resources with higher potential than catches are tuna and oceanic pelagic species. Their abundance is highly variable and they are difficult to access for small fisheries.

Access to resources

Cabo Verde has signed a reciprocity agreement with Senegal and a convention with Mauritania. Only Senegal has an industrial fleet fishing in the EEZ of Cabo Verde.

In addition to these agreements, a contract was signed with the Federation of Japanese Cooperatives and a Partnership agreement with the European Community covering the 2014-2018 period.