Aug 3, 2010, 2:45 PM
The Minister of Youth and Sports Thursday presided over the closure of US $3.5 million Banafa project at the final seminar of the project held at the NaNA conference hall.
Speaking at the closure of the project, Minister Alieu K. Jammeh said the BaNafaa project was a five-year regional initiative supported by the American people through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa regional mission.
He said the project started in May 2009 and was implemented through the University of Rhode Island URI-USAID Cooperative agreement on sustainable coastal communities and ecosystems (SUCCESS).
Minister Jammeh further said that all project activities were carried out in partnership with the department of fisheries and stakeholders in the fisheries sector in The Gambia and Senegal.
He added that in 2011, the water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) component of the USAID/Banafaa project was incorporated to support needed water and sanitation fishery and community fishery centre and oyster landing sites.
The Youth and Sports minister said further that the Government of The Gambia under President Jammeh is giving priority to and paying keen attention on the development and sustainable management of the fisheries sector. The policy legal and management framework for fisheries in The Gambia are embodied in the 2007 Fisheries Act and the 2008 fisheries regulations, the minister noted.
He said the policy objectives of the fisheries sector are connected to key national development objective that include increased food self-sufficiency and security.
He further said the successes and achievements of the USAID/BaNafaa project have been recognized both nationally and internationally.
The ministry of fisheries and water resources and the department of fisheries and all other collaborating institutions would continue to focus on consolidating the achievement made by the project and ensure that measures, system and procedures already developed are functioning and are sustained to benefit present and future generations, he said.
The approval of the two plans by the government in January 2012 is a clear testimony on the side of the government in empowering stakeholders in the sustainable management of their own fisheries resources, he said.
“Together we will continue to reinforce the capacity of the government and civil society co-management institutions responsible for implementation of the clock and oyster fishery co management plan and the sole fishery co- management plans,” the minister said. He seized the opportunity to thank the University of Rhode Island, the WWF, West Africa Marine Program office WAMPO, the department of fisheries, Try Oyster Women Association, the National Sole Fishery Committee, the department of water resources, the NEA and other development partners.
He further extended sincere appreciation and profound gratitude to the people and government of the United States of America for funding the USAID/Banafaa project.
Bamba Banja, USAID-Banafaa project coordinator in The Gambia, said the goal of the USAID/Banafaa Project is to support the Gambia government in achieving its fisheries development objectives by contributing to the following targets: artisanal fisheries and coastal ecosystems in The Gambia, and selected stocks share with Senegal are being managed more sustainably , incorporating significant participation of fisher-folk in decision-making and attaining improved economic benefits for both men and women involved in the market value chain.