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West African artisan fisheries meeting wraps-up

Mar 23, 2010, 12:17 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Executive of the Gambia Artisan Fishery Development Agency and the National Association of Artisan Operators NAAFO over the weekend ended a three-day sub-regional meeting on the opening of the African Confederation of Small-Scale Fishery and Aqua-culture Professional Organisation.

The meeting, which drew participants from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania and The Gambia, was held at Mansea Beach Hotel.

It was among others aimed at validating the draft constitution of the confederation and the internal rules of procedure for adoption, selection of the executive of the confederation, and prepared action of plan.

In declaring the meeting opened, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries and National Assembly Matters, Amadou Saine said this was the fifth meeting of small-scale fishery professional organisation since 2006, with the objective of forming an African confederation of small-scale fisheries association.

He asserted that government with assistance of its development partners like FAO and WWF have gone step ahead in organising the country’s small-scale fisheries operators into professional organisation at national level. Saine noted that small-scale fisheries operators are concerned about the impact of fisheries access agreement and the activities of industrial fishing fleets on the fishery in African and other waters.

He added that several umbrella Artisan fisheries organisations have been formed in different West African countries to complement government’s effort in the development and management of the fisheries sector. The needs for the creation of this confederation, Saine went on, is imperative and timely as it will enable these organisations to collectively and actively take part in the co-management of fisheries resources and be able to influence government policies.

For his part, the Director of fishery, Mr. Nfamara Dampha highlighted the contribution of artisanal fisheries sub-sector in West Africa, in particular The Gambia in relation to its contribution in creating employment opportunity and improving nutritional dietary in-take of the citizenry.  He noted that the objective of the meeting was to discuss issues relating to responsible fishing and the relationship between the media and Artisan fishery professional.