The 27th Extraordinary Session of the Coordinating Committee of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) is currently underway at a local hotel in Kololi, Gambia.
The week-long forum, jointly organised by the Ministry of Fisheries in collaboration with the Dakar-based SRFC, seeks to review and validate the draft monitoring, control and surveillance convention and its additional protocols on the sub-regional register of fishing vessels, including the information exchange and the sub-regional observer programme.
Speaking at the event, Pa Ousman Jarju the Minister of Environment said fishing is one of the most important sectors that can immensely contribute to the development and transformation of economies of the SRFC. However, Jarju stated that the region is unable to realise this huge potential due to over exploitation of fisheries resources by industrial and artisanal fishing as well as by presence of worrisome magnitude of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in all its forms.
“This threat to the fisheries calls for closer cooperation among member states of the SRFC and West African region as a whole,” he said. Minister Jarju added that since the establishment by FAO in 2001, of an international plan of action against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, member countries have taken major political steps by sticking to the plan.
“The Gambia is calling for more robust financial means and activities to control, combat and meet the challenges of unregulated and unreported fishing.”
Matarr Bah, Director of Fisheries, said the willingness to ensure sustainable management of the sub-region’s resources were expressed in the Nouakchott Declaration of 2001 on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and in the strategic plan of 2011-2015 of SRCF.
Bah noted that during the 14th ordinary session held in September 2001 in the Mauritania capital, the conference of ministers of SRFC had
taken a strong political path by adhering to FAO’s international plan of action to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Marieme Diagne Talla, acting Permanent Secretary SRFC, said there is a need to join hands to fight illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in all its forms.
by Omar Wally & Alhajie Babou Jallow