Small pelagic fish contributes to Gambia's economy
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Hachim El Ayoubi, the coordinator of Sub-regional Fisheries Commission Project in The Gambia has observed that the small pelagic fisheries (small fish) are very paramount and can contribute largely to the provision of economic benefits to countries of North-West Africa.
The small pelagic, he said, also constitute a food security strategy net for a major part of West African population especially at this critical time of the food crisis that is facing the African continent. Ayoubi made these remarks last Monday, at the Fisheries Department in Banjul, during a day's training workshop for senior fisheries officers and fishermen as well as fish retailers from various fishing centres in the country on the sustainable management and control of small pelagic fish exploitation. The training was organized by the Fisheries Department in collaboration with the sub-regional fisheries commission, an intergovernmental body comprising seven states in West Africa.
According to Ayoubi, the project will enable the Sub-regional Fisheries Cooperation commission to achieve one of its major objectives, which is to harmonise the policies of its member states in terms of preservation, conservation and utilisation of fisheries resources and also to strengthen cooperation for the welfare of the African population. He stated that as part of its activities, the project provides technical assistance and financial support to the countries of North-West Africa for the establishment of a national and regional reflection and consultation between various stakeholders in the small pelagic fishing industry.
Nfamara Dampha, director of Fisheries, highlighted the significance attached to the training. He observed that management and control of catches in pelagic fish is a concern that needs to be addressed by everyone. Asberr N Mendy, principal fisheries officer at the Fisheries Department said the small pelagic fish represent a major food source for many people in The Gambia and therefore, their exploitation should be a concern for all.
He told participants that the 2008 fishery policy document has stated that the government shall take cognisance of a policy framework that will recognise that responsible fisheries management is essential for the sustained development of the fisheries sector and its economic benefits as well as the welfare of its stakeholders.
Modou Gibba, a fisherman from the Tanji fishing centre, said a committee responsible for small fish catch control consisting of fishermen and fish retailers was previously established in their area but no longer functions. Fishermen, he said, need to be given their due and should not be the only party to be blamed for the small fish catches.
He pointed accusing finger at Senegalese fishermen whom, he said, navigate The Gambian waters and catch any kind of fish they come across. Buba Cham, another fisherman from Banjul, also expressed similar sentiments.
Author: by Amadou Jallow