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Fisheries minister rubbishes illegal fishing claims

Jul 9, 2020, 11:49 AM

Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters Minister James F.P. Gomez has debunked claims that certain fishing vessels entered the creeks of The Gambia and were engaged in indiscriminate fishing.

These claims were made on certain social media platforms. Upon seeing this information, the Fisheries Ministry sent staff of the Department of Fisheries to go and verify the claim, only to find out that it was unfounded.

“The Ministry is aware of the importance of the creek, and the mangrove ecosystem in the regeneration of fish stocks and will not relent in protecting the fragile environment,” Minister Gomez vowed.

He pointed out that industrial fishing is regulated, and that fishing vessels or trawlers are not allowed to fish in the near shore because that is an infringement of the Fisheries Regulations 2008.

During a recent National Assembly session, the member for Kiang West, Fakebba N.L. Colley, requested for the Minister of fisheries to inform the Assembly the number and nationalities of fishing vessel operators that have illegally fished in The Gambian waters and were intercepted by The Gambia Navy since 2018.

The minister responded that from 2018 to date, a total of 32 arrests have been made involving 21 Gambians, two Senegalese, six Chinese and three Turkish registered fishing vessels.

He said the fishing vessels arrested were all legally authorised or licenced to fish in the exclusive economic zone but they violated the licencing conditions which resulted to the arrest.

By Fatou B Cham

Information Officer, Ministry of Fisheries

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