SRFC convention to be reviewed
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The department of Fisheries under the ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, in collaboration with WARMER, an organisation based in Senegal, last Tuesday organised a two-day seminar on the procedure for revising the convention on the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), on the minimum conditions of access and exploitation of the fisheries resources, held at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
During the two-day seminar, participants will discuss topics relating to the minimum conditions of access (MCA) and exploitation of fisheries resources of member states of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Convention. In his opening remarks, Amadou Saine, the permanent secretary at the ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, said, up to about 200,000 people either directly or indirectly are engaged in fisheries and its related income generating activities. He said the sector also contributes 4% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment and income to the vulnerable groups (women and youths). According to him, these are the reasons why The Gambia government has accorded a high priority to the conservation and management of the marine resources.
DPS Saine also informed the meeting of some of the sector's major problems, of which he relayed it to have been trans-boundary in character. He labelled these as depleting fish stock, which is due to illegal fishing, threats of unsustainable resources use and the threats of human damages to the aquatic environment and the high rate of degradation among other things. According to him, the government is extremely concerned about this threats and it is ready to address them through various measures, which include the implementation of relevant provisions of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Code of conduct for responsible fishing.
According to Nfamara Dampha, director of fisheries, the Banjul meeting is a follow-up to a sub-regional workshop that was held in Dakar to review the Minimum Conditions of Access to fisheries resources in the member state countries. The Dakar workshop, he said, has also established a concession on various topics.
Jainaba Beye-Trawally, head of harmonisation unit at the sub-regional fisheries commission in Dakar, who deputised for the permanent sectary at the Commission's head office in Dakar, briefed the meeting of the commission's establishment, adding that it was established a way back in 1985 to harmonise fishing policies and legislation of its member countries. To this end, she said, it developed various tools such as CMA Convention in 1993, which was to provide Minimum Condition of Access to the EEZ of member states for foreign industrial fishing fleet.
She expressed optimism that the two-day interactive sessions would provide participants with the necessary guidelines and recommendation to improve the current convention. "This in turn will also help to create the necessary framework for the sustainable management of West African Marine and Coastal Resources including the improvement of the conditions for monitoring, control and surveillance.
Madame Beye-Trawally concluded by expressing her appreciation for what she described as tremendous efforts displayed by the Fisheries department in organising the event.
Author: by Musa Ndow