Let's empower fisheries officials

Friday, June 07, 2019

Illegal fishing which includes juvenile fishing is a serious issue affecting many developing countries. It is virtually found in all types and dimensions of fishing and occur both on the high seas and in areas within national jurisdiction. It concerns all aspects and stages of the capture and utilisation of fish, and it may sometimes be associated with organised crime.

Therefore, safeguarding of our vast marine resources calls for concerted efforts by all and sundry. The work should be left alone to the fisheries officials, since our water resources is what we have.  

It is sad to report that The Gambia is losing a lot of its water resources due to Unreported Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.  At the global perspective, a significant amount of money is lost due to IUU fishing alone as estimate indicates that the West African waters lost almost US$23.5billion per year - representing up to 37 percent of the region’s catch.

Therefore, the recent attacks on fisheries officials in Tanji just for doing their work should not be left to go like that. The act is uncalled for and it is high time law takes its course to deter others. If we continue to exercise that kind of ‘maslaha’ attitude all the times in addressing issues of national concern, it will be difficult to make any meaningful head as a country.

We must remember that there has to be that enabling environment for civil servants to executive their functions without fear or favour.

 It’s a well known fact that it’s always hard to work in such a complicated situation as it requires lot of sacrifices and compromise.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources must step up efforts to empower its employers working at the frontline. Their job is sacrosanct and so it needs immense protection.

Fisheries resources are among The Gambia’s most prestigious resources and we must at all cost protect and safeguard it from unscrupulous people. 

Therefore, the people who are executing that job at the forefront must be respected. They are doing this job not for their families but for the entire nation for a more solid and vibrant water resources for our future.

But the government must not to turn a deaf eye to ensuring that its people working in that kind of situation are given reassurance to ensure effective and efficient execution of their duties.    

“Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self..”

Ted Hughes