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Regional workshop for decision makers ends in Banjul

Sep 1, 2010, 3:25 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The third regional workshop for decision makers in fish processing, inspection and marketing ended yesterday at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. The forum brought together, among others, policy makers involved in the process of improving access of fishery products to export markets.

In his address delivered on the occasion, the Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, Honourable Lamin Kaba Bajo, said the workshop was an important event, and a step in the right direction.

The existence of sound policy and commitment in support of the control of the health and safety of fishery products is important, but cannot be put in place without understanding the fundamental requirements for meeting standards, he added.

Minister Bajo said it is, therefore, important that policy makers in government understand the issues around sanitary and phytosanitary requirements for compliance with international standards.

He said the objective of the fish trade would be to ensure and maintain supply and access to export markets, particularly in the EU, as an important trading partner in fishery products from the region, as well as to maintain access to those markets by fulfilling their obligation to ensuring control along the fish supply chain from the sea to the table.

He extended his personal commendation to the FAO STD-134 project for organising the workshop that brought together decision makers in fish processing, inspection and marketing from beneficiary countries.

Addressing the participants, the FAO representative to the Gambia, Dr. Babagana Ahmadu, said the most common use for fisheries resources is for food, adding that over 75% of the global fish production is used for direct human consumption. He asserted that the consumption of fresh fish is growing at the expense of other forms of fish products.

The local FAO boss added that the fresh fish is now the most important fishery product, with nearly half of the market, followed by frozen, canned and cured fish.

With over one third of the world fish production now being traded internationally, quality and safety assurance has become a major issue, he added.

In recent past, Dr. Ahmadu said, considerable progress has been made to establish internationally agreed standards and procedures that assure consumers good quality fish products.