May 4, 2012, 1:34 PM
The National Association of Artisanal Fisheries Operators (NAAFO) has established a National Fish Landing Sites Sanitation Taskforce, with Gunjur and Tanji as pilot sites, to ensure fish landing sites are kept clean and hygienic.
The two-day workshop organised by NAAFO and the Gambia Artisanal Fisheries Fishermen Development Agency (GAMFIDA) also covered the presentation and validation of the project proposal; presentation and drafting of the constitution and by-laws for review, amendment and adoption; establishment of a national sanitation taskforce and electing taskforce members; establishment of Tanji and Gunjur landing sites sanitation committees and electing members; and discussion on the way forward for extension of the project to other landing sites along the coast.
The project entitled Establishment of a National Fish Landing Sites Sanitation Taskforce was financed by the Worldwide Fund for Nature – West African Marine Eco-region (WWF-WAMER) in collaboration with the West African Association for the Development of Artisanal Fisheries for the purchase of materials and equipment such as refuse collection bins, wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes and uniforms which will be used for maintaining environmental sanitation at the landing sites.
“The development purpose of this project was conceived as a result of the outcome of a mission report by the European Union Food and Veterinary Office in January 2010 for the purpose of evaluating the control systems in place governing the production of fish and fishery products intended for export to the EU countries,” said Dawda Saine, national coordination for NGOs and Professional Organisations in the Artisanal Fisheries Sub-sector.
He said the EU mission team highlighted several gaps in the production chain such as the unhygienic conditions of Artisanal fish landing sites, fish hygiene handling requirements, unhygienic situation of the ice plants, and also within the industrial fisheries sub-sector including insufficient application of Hazards Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) as well as the lack of accredited laboratories to test for biochemical and bacterial contaminants such as benzo, a pyrine in smoked fish.
Famara Drammeh, programme officer, Coastal and Marine Environment Unit (NEA), in his remarks on the occasion, said: “You will agree with me that the condition of our fishing landing sites is unhygienic and has become an eye sore not only to the fisher folks but also to the general public.”
This situation is a great concern for the Department of Fisheries and the National Environment Agency and is totally unacceptable, he says.