At least 30 participants drawn from both the public and private sectors in the country are attending a five-day training workshop, designed to strengthen good governance within the Artisanal Fisheries Professional Organisation (AFPO) in the seven English-member countries of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC).
The synergy is organised and implemented by West African Association for the Development Artisanal Fisheries (WADAF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources.
Declaring the forum opened on behalf of the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the said Ministry, Matarr Bah, Director of Fisheries, said the objectives of the workshop are in line with fisheries policies of all Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) member states.
Bah reminded participants that capacity development is key for effective conservation, management and development of the fisheries sector as well as the application of the bottom-top approach“Without the required capacities you as artisanal fisheries operators cannot or will find it difficult and challenging to influence government policies and contribution to strategies for sustainable fisheries management and utilisation.” he added.
The Government of The Gambia, he said is implementing a Technical Cooperation Programme (FAO/TCP) supported financially and technically by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in the development of artisanal fisheries sector.
These he added, includes among others, capacity building in fish processing, fish productions and management of organisations, which is similar to this project.
Bah revealed that he has already taken operational steps to ensure that Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is dramatically decrease through participatory and effective monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries resources.
He thanked the Government of The Gambia, WADAF and French Agency for Development (FAD) for their financial support to the project, adding that the training will no doubt add impetus at all levels.
For his part, the Executive Secretary of WADAF, Moussa Mbengue, said the overall objective of the training is to contribute to the strengthening of the national and political skills of artisanal fisheries professionals with a view to improving sea products, processing techniques and conditions.
According to him, the training of fisheries stakeholders and the artisanal sector in particular is a precondition for their effective participation in public fisheries policy and sustainability of fisheries.
Mbengue expressed optimism that at the end of the training, participants would know the principles and standards governing the management of artisanal processing sites and other fisheries products valorisation facilities, to know the good practice of artisanal processing of sea products.
He went on to commend the Government of The Gambia and the SRFC and other partners and professional organisations for their unflinching support to WADAF.
by Lamin B. Darboe