secretary Ministry of Fisheries, Water resources and National Assembly matters
has debunked a recent claim by the president of Bakau Fishermen and Target
Beneficiaries Association (BFTBA) that fishermen from Gambia’s neighbouring
Senegal are taking over the country’s territorial waters as they are fishing
and loading in containers and sending to Senegal.
Speaking to the Point’s Pa Modou Cham at his office at 7 Marina Parade in Banjul, Dr. Bamba A.M. Banja said his ministry has been helping Gambia’s fisheries sector particularly the artisanal sub-sectors which comprise fishermen, fish smokers, dryers and managers.
Last week, President of Bakau Fishermen and Target Beneficiaries Association Nuwa Sajor appealed to Gambia government to help them in placing policies that will guide the sea because there isn’t enough fish available in Gambian waters. He attributed the situation to what he called the “semi industrial fishing.”
Mr. Sarjo said people were not aware of the trend but said post net fishing called “Fillaturneh” nets carries all types of fish irrespective of their sizes and is the fastest way to wipe away fishes in the sea but Dr. Bamba said the fisheries ministry is responsible for placing polices relating to the development of both the fisheries and the water sectors. “Bakau was the first fishing community that the government supported in 1992 with facilities to improve fish handling, fish processing and fish stores. It was one of the centers that had fix deposit, saving and current accounts,” he explained.
According to Dr. Banja, they have been also building capacities of stakeholders to manage the community fishing centers for the benefit of the present and future generation. “We believe in a system called co-management where government, stakeholders and the committees work together in the management and development of the fisheries sector.”
He said the semi industrial fishing called “Fillaturneh” is allowed but people most use the appropriate net size of 40mm because that is what the law accepts, saying the fisheries ministry will soon start training the beneficiaries about fishing which will create opportunities to the fishermen.
The fisheries PS said the use of wrong and inappropriate net sizes is more common in up country than the urban area, maintaining that his ministry is also planning to conduct a nationwide tour to hold discussions with regional Governors, local authorities, the Police, the Navy and the communities to work together in the protection of the country’s fisheries resources. “Not only that, we will also map out the potentials of our cultural sites. We will discuss with the communities the establishment of organisations and build their capacities.”
He said the government has also provided a revolving fund of 29 million dalasis for fishermen, fish smokers and fish dryers for social development of the sector for artisanal operators.
Dr. Bamba admitted that there is foreign fishermen presence in Gambian territorial waters but said there are more Gambian fishermen in the sea than foreigners. “Gambia and Senegal have been on good terms for a long time and have been supporting each other. We are closely working for the benefit of both countries for better future based on the rule of law and respect.”