Let’s protect our fisheries resources, coastlines!

Jul 1, 2021, 1:31 PM

Fisheries sector is an important contributor to the gross domestic products of any nation. The sector plays greatly to the food security needs of millions around the globe.

Statistics revealed that the sector in terms of food security benefits millions of people, while also providing income for many.

However, the potentials of the sector are not being exploited to the fullest due to Unreported, Unregulated, and Illegal (UUI) fishing in our waters.

The minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters recently told lawmakers that a combined total of D461,621,022.01 (four hundred and sixty–one million, six hundred and twenty-One thousand and twenty-two dalasis, one butut) has been generated in the country’s fishing industry since 2017.

This is indeed a welcome development. But did the Fisheries minster reveal how much in terms of monetary value, is the country losing to shoddy agreement reached with the European Union.

It was sometime in July 2019, when the European Union and The Gambia government signed a new 6-year fisheries partnership agreement and associated protocol setting out the fishing opportunities for EU vessels. Though, the financial compensation will be paid by the Union and the modalities of sectorial support to the fishing sector of The Gambia. But is this partnership agreement doing harm or good to the country fishing sector? Well, that will be another topic for another day.

Well, we have to protect and jealously safeguard our territorial waters. The country’s Atlantic is a rare gem, which need to be secured.

Off recent, IUU fishing is one of the biggest threats to our oceans, impacting the sustainability of the fisheries sector and even coastal communities.

On a daily basis, good quantity of juvenile fishes are being caught and dumped along our shores.

The sector is one player when it comes to the employability of youth. And we are glad that the sector has created employment for over 2,809 Gambian youths of which 2,124 are deckhands and 685 as fisheries observers, according to the minister.

More importantly, a total of 186 fish landing sites are in operation in small scale artisanal fisheries sub-sector out of which 10 are located within the Atlantic Coast.

Fish is one of the most traded food commodities on the global market. Therefore, the sector is a leading player as far as nation’s economy is concerned.

There is need for greater security of our waters from foreign fishing trawlers. Experts believe that pollution from a vibrant tourism sector and foreign trawlers have reduced stocks along our coastline. This has resulted to fast deletion of the continent's fish stocks by industrial trawlers which indiscriminately fish in our oceans to feed European and Asian markets.

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore."

Vincent Van Gogh