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Over 24,000 people die annually in fishing-related accidents: fisheries minister

Jul 27, 2011, 2:08 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, Hon Lamin Kaba Bajo, has said that recent statistics has revealed that over 24,000 people die annually in fishing-related accidents in the world, therefore there is need for training and capacity building for enhancing safety at sea for fishing.

Hon. Bajo made these remarks whilst speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day seminar on safety at the sea of Non-conventional vessels on Gambian waters.

The programme was organised by the Gambia Maritime Administration (GMA), in collaboration with Department of fisheries and International Maritime Organization (IOM) held at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul from 25 to 27 July 2011.

The seminar attracted stakeholders including security officers, the National Assembly members, journalists and other international maritime experts from Ghana and Nigeria to take part at the all-important training.

“You will undoubtedly agree with me that the artisanal fisheries sector plays a vital role in government’s efforts at reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition as well as at promoting the socio-economic development of the country. ’This fact is manifested in the high priority accorded the sector in our development agenda,” he said.

“The fact is that when demand exceeds available resources, one of the consequences is the competition for limited fish stocks.

‘”Competition often compels fishers to adopt fishing strategies and methods which put them at greater risks to accident,” he noted.

He pointed out that The Gambia has benefited from the West Africa Partnership Safety at Sea project of the Sub-regional Fisheries Commission, the objective of which was the strengthening of stakeholders’ institutions, such as fisher-folks, government and NGO, to enhance and address safety at sea issues at micro-macro levels.

Also Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, Njogou Bah, said that with support from the resource persons, provided by the IMO, the stakeholders forum had made valuable recommendations including the hosting of the current seminar.

He noted that both programmes have one common objective: safety of maritime transport on clean waters.

Dr Bah noted that the significance of the seminar is two fold. “It addresses the safety and security of small vessels on The Gambian waters and the prevention of the environment from maritime pollution,” he said.

“The numerous non-conventional vessels (fishing boats, pleasure yachts, small passenger/ cargo vessels, etc.) that ply our waters and the large volumes of passengers and cargo that are transported as a result, make it imperative to improve the safety of maritime transport,” Hon. Bah added.

“Secondly, the inter-sectoral co-operation between the department of fisheries on the one hand and the Gambia Ports Authority and the Gambia Maritime Administration on the other, which is the result of this seminar, signifies, to a large extent, the thinking of the great leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, that we must work together as one nation and one people with a common destiny by complementing each other’s efforts.”

Other speakers on the occasion included Alexander G. Buabeng, IMO lead consultant from Ghana, and Momodou Aki Bajo, managing director of the GMA.