Gabon - Fishing
While there have been recent improvements in the fishing industry, it is still relatively undeveloped. Traditional fishing accounts for two-thirds of total catch. The waters off the Gabonese coast contain large quantities of fish. Gabonese waters are estimated to be able to support an annual catch of 15,000 tons of tuna and 12,000 tons of sardines. The fishing fleet was formerly based chiefly in Libreville. A new fishing port, however, was built at Port-Gentil in 1979. Port-Gentil is now the center of operations for the industrial fleet. Plans for a cannery, fish-meal factory, and refrigerated storage facilities are underway. The total catch in 2000 was 47,470 tons, 80% from the Atlantic. By international agreement and Gabonese law, an exclusive economic zone extends 200 mi off the coast, which prohibits any foreign fishing company to fish in this zone without governmental authorization. However, since Gabon has no patrol boats, foreign trawlers (especially French and Spanish) often illegally capture tuna in Gabonese waters.