Gambia: PS Fisheries Expresses Concern Over Illegal Fishing Activities

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:18th Apr, 2019: Impacts of Illegal Fishing

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries has on Thursday said most of the local fishermen and trawlers operating in Gambian waters are engaged in illegal fishing activities.

Dr Bamba A.M Banja on Thursday saidy: “This is a global problem; Gambia is not the only country facing it.”

Dr Banja who made this statement during an interview with this paper, was reacting to claims by local fishers who alleged that Chinese Fishing trawlers operating in Gambian waters used unauthorized nets to catch fish including juvenile ones.

He said that is why the Ministry of Fisheries is in the process of buying a new petrol boat for the navies so that they would be in a position to effectively police the country’s territorial waters against poachers, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in the Gambia.

He said the Ministry of Fisheries is working with its development partners and other players at sub-regional level to combat IUU which they are doing by carrying joint surveillance missions which involve other countries.

He said they will not relent in the battle against illegal, unreported and unregistered fishing until they eradicate the practice in The Gambia.

Dr. Bamba A.M Banja earlier said industrial fisheries activities in The Gambia are regulated by his Ministry.

He mentioned that each fishing vessel has its limitation in Gambian waters. He said the local fishermen are to fish from 0 to 9 nautical miles, while “industrial fishers are authorized depending on the size of their vessel which can be from 9\12 or 12 beyond nautical miles”.

He added if any of the fishing vessels goes beyond the nautical miles, they are allowed to operate, then, they are encroaching into the zones reserved for others which is punishable under Gambian law.

Dr. Benja said in the event any vessel crosses its territory to another boundary, it would not be the responsibility of the fisheries ministry to react, but that of the Gambia Navy because it is their responsibility to protect the coastal and fishery waters.

“Fishing in the wrong zone is against the fishery law which the fishermen don’t understand,” he said.

He further said before fishing trawlers are given permission to fish in the sea, they have to come for inspection and in the process, they look at their facilities, net sizes and others to see if they are in conformity with what the legislation is demanding from them.

He remarked: “We cannot give license to a fishing trawler that has not fulfill the requirements of the law.”

The net size is regulated and inspected and if any vessel is found fishing with the wrong net sizes, the vessel is intercepted and the crew arrested, he added.

He said they have registered about 50 to 60 trawlers, adding these trawlers are given three months to operate and after that, some can come and renew their license again.

He said they need the participation of Gambians in the sector especially the women and youth, saying only few Gambians are fishing.

He said fishery is a very important sector for the Gambian economic because it has the potential to create employment opportunities and bring revenue and foreign exchange as well as improve the nutritional status of Gambians.

Source: All Africa

Recent Posts

Eighth meeting of the West Africa Task Force

The West Africa Task Force (WATF) of the Fisheries Committee for the West...

Read More...

Blue Oceans Conference calls for collaboration, transparency and port State measures to address illegal fishing

Building on the momentum begun by the United Nations Oceans Conference and the...

Read More...

Liberian authorities meet to build cooperation to stop illegal fishing

Representatives from seven Liberian agencies participated in the Liberian National Working Group (NWG)...

Read More...

SIF News Categories

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

Read More...

Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...

Recent Posts

Eighth meeting of the West Africa Task Force

The West Africa Task Force (WATF) of the Fisheries Committee for the West...

Read More...

Blue Oceans Conference calls for collaboration, transparency and port State measures to address illegal fishing

Building on the momentum begun by the United Nations Oceans Conference and the...

Read More...