Rise in demand of any category of juvenile fish species to feed larger fishmeal factories in the country is the major cause of juvenile fishing in our waters, warns Fatou Colley, a senior fisheries officer stationed at Tanji fish landing site.
Ms. Colley’s remarks came after recent discovery of dead juvenile fishes allegedly caught by foreign fishing trawlers over the weekend at Tanji Fish Landing Site. However, the recent discovery of dead juvenile fishes, signals the rise in extent of illegal fishing in our waters.
She, however, expressed shock and disappointment over the incident, saying she got to learn about the incident through a phone call.
Many are of the view that foreign fishing trawlers mainly from the neighbouring countries especially Senegal, are responsible for these awful practice.
“I have to leave all what I was doing at home despite by busy schedule to come and see what exactly was going on. Upon arrival, as you can see it from my face, this is telling you how shock I am right now. And no one will deny the fact that juvenile fishes have been caught by the vessel owners who will take the advantage of the weekend activities and embark on their fishing activities. Let me also tell you that starting from today, any juvenile fish catch will be confiscated from their owners and those involved will face the full force of the law. What is even encouraging in juvenile fishing is because of the demand from the fishmeal factories on any category of fish,” she said.
The unlawful activity of juvenile fishing, according to local fish vendors, has been going on for two to three days now without any legal enforcement from the authorities.
Sanna Touray, a local fisher vendor and a native of Tanji, expressed disappointment with the situation and called on all good citizens to stand firm against the negative practice.
“I know this is where we get our living from, but right now, it is very sad, seeing the magnitude of juvenile fishes caught for almost a week now. I can tell you that every fishing vessels you are seeing here today is full of dead juvenile fishes which the authority should have done something about it,” he said
Another local fish vendor, Fatou Darboe, lamented that she is left with no choice but to bear and buy the juvenile fishes from the fishermen.
“We know this is not even helping us as local fisher vendors, looking at these juvenile fishes, but what if there is no other alternative. We just have to bear and purchase it for re-sale as you can see every single basket here today is full of juvenile fishes.” she stated
Meanwhile, officers of The Gambia Navy stationed at Tanji, also frowned at the incident, further expressing their resolve to fight against juvenile fishing on our waters.