Jan 21, 2009, 4:29 AM
It is good to read of the five-day workshop currently underway for the trainers of fishing vessel personnel at the Paradise Suites Hotel. The training has been organised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in collaboration with The Gambia Maritime Administration and the Department of State for fisheries and National Assembly Matters.
The training aims to improve the safety of those who work in the area and also help prevent pollution. The training will provide guidance and a uniform level of education that will prove useful in enhancing the standards of fishing vessels.
This very important training. We have many people who work in the fishing industry and many families who depend on them, sometimes as the sole breadwinner. For this reason every action that can be taken to prevent a tragedy must be taken. The maritime life is a dangerous one so training of this kind is essential if we are to protect those working in the industry and their dependents.
It is good to see the issue of pollution being discussed openly as it can be a major threat to fish stocks. This threatens not only the livelihoods of those currently working in the fishing industry but the viability of the entire future of the industry.
In his address Mr. Milton Baron, the technical officer, maritime training and human element section, noted that the fisheries administration must ensure that fishing vessel personnel not only receive a sound education and training but also be able to demonstrate their competence. The last part of this statement is particularly pertinent. As we know a person can be educated in a classroom for years and emerge at the other end of the theoretical training with no ability to apply what they have learned.
This is where government comes in. Efforts must be made to impose more stringent inspection of vessels to ensure that they are sea worthy and that safety procedures have been followed.
It is clear from his statement at the workshop that the deputy permanent secretary at the Department for Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, Mr. Suwareh Jabai, understands this. He emphasised the importance of enhancing personal safety and the standard of equipment in the sector.
He therefor stressed the need to protect our precious fisheries resources. He said this could be achieved through the implementation of an up to date mechanism for the monitoring, surveillance and control from the air, land and sea.
We hope to see action on these wise words in the near future so that those who work in the fishing industry can be fully protected when they embark on the often perilous journey to fish in our waters.
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