Fisheries Dept. to punish vessel infringers

Jun 1, 2021, 10:43 AM | Article By: Fatou Dem

The Department of Fisheries recently announced that stakeholder agents and vessel owners who infringe vessels will face the full force of the law.

The announcement came as a result of the establishment of a Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC), through the sector support of the European Union- Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

The aim of the monitoring centre is to address major challenges in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and fisheries related crimes.

In a statement, director of Fisheries and Water Resources, Anna Mbenga Cham, said the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a global problem beyond the resources of one nation.

The Gambia, she said, is no exception to resource depletion, therefore vessels that infringe the prohibited zones and use wrong mesh sizes in contravention of the laws will face the full force of the law.

Madam Cham said the Fisheries management conservation, control and utilisation demands for strategic actions to sustain the fisheries resources.

“The Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) is equipped with THEMIS web Vessel monitoring system and desktop computers. The THEMIS cloud has a comprehensive data integration service and crucial tools for maintaining 24-hour maritime surveillance via a secure, web-based interface,” she stated.

The vessels’ activities can be monitored in real time with geographical features of interest such as exclusive economic zone or territorial boundaries, she further said.

The THEMIS software for the Fisheries Monitoring Centre was installed by SATCOM, a Senegalese company in partnership with Collecte Localisation Satellite.

European Union representative said the Fisheries Monitoring Centre will make transparency possible in the Fisheries sector.

According to her, the Fisheries Monitoring Centre is essential to ensure the activities of any industrial vessel fishing in Gambian waters are in accordance with national international laws.

She added that the FMC is important to help control the activities of Gambian and non Gambian flag vessels caring out fishing activities in Gambian waters. “The fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing practices will significantly be strengthened with the help of the monitoring centre”.

James Gomes, minister of Fisheries and Water Resources said the agreement between the EU and The Gambia was that The Gambia must have a functional FMC.

The Gambia is the only country that does not have the capacity to police their own waters, Minister Gomez said, adding that the monitoring centre is a first step of getting The Gambia to know who is in our waters and when they came in our waters and where they are in our waters.

Meanwhile, in the agreement, there was a purchase from the Collecte Localisation Satellite with building automatic identification system and satellites, five desk computers, 30 transponders and five-day training for Monitoring, Controlling and Surveillance for the activation of the transponders.

Minister Gomez extended gratitude to the EU for standing by The Gambia.

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