The National Sole Fisheries Co Management Committee (NASCOM) in collaboration with WADAF on March 14 2023 organized a national committee stakeholder meeting on sole fisheries in Banjul. The day-long convergent brought together artisanal fisheries members from the Gambia and Senegal, for viable supervision of sole fisheries which is a transboundary resource between the two countries.
The purpose of the national committee meeting is to reactivate The Gambia National Committee for it to play a vital role within the framework of the Senegal Gambia bilateral Committee which will be formed to better contribute to the sustainable fisheries management and cross border management for both countries.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony Mr Momodou S Jallow representing the Director of Fisheries said, The National Committee for Sole Fisheries is very key for the fisheries sector which is important to create and strengthen opportunities for both the public and the private sector. The fisheries sector is divided into two sectors both artisanal and industrial.
According to Mr Jallow, The Gambia fisheries industry is highly productive with huge fish stocks due to fresh waters from River Gambia, with a good marine eco system. He said, the fisheries sector contributes 11% to the national GDP and the average growth in the last five years is 25% and the direct and indirect employment is 200,000 people.
Mr Jallow explained that the artisanal fisheries sector contributes 80% of raw material for commercial fishing sector which includes fishing activities at the landing sites. The Gambia and Senegal contributes economically from both sides by creating jobs and wealth for fishing communities particularly soles fisheries for both countries.
Mr Jallow recommended that The Artisanal fishing communities should be supported with capacity-building development for sustainable management and exploitation of the fisheries sector. He said, the general public should be sensitized about the importance of general fish stock within the context of co-management.
He said both countries should have strong collaborations in area of research and development activities including funding to carry out research for both countries. He urged both countries to consider constant data collection of various fish species. We doing all our efforts to ensure that our data collection is always available.
Mr. Moussa Mbenga Executive Secretary from WADAF said, the project will be implemented by NASCOM in the Gambia. He said it was initiated as part of a fisheries agreement signed between the Gambia and Senegal, to support and established a bilateral agreement to exchange information, share experiences, and jointly manage sole shared resources as well as other related species. Mr. Mbenga pointed out that the initiative will continue at different landing sites in various countries.
Mr Dawda Foday Saine the National Correspondent for WADAF and the Head of NASCOM also speaking to various artisanal members said that the WADAF project will support the artisanal fishermen to improve sole fisheries management in west Africa.
This program will be coordinated by NASCOM which was created to effectively manage the sole fishery sector in the Gambia.NASCOM will regularly collect and review various fisheries data which is a critical aspect for maintaining sustainable fisheries management.
Mrs Fatou Choi a Female Artisanal Fisheries Leader said that, the program will support various women in the fisheries sector through capacity building and exchange visits to both countries to create more jobs for women and empower more women at various fishing landing sites.
Vessel owners and agents operating in Gambian waters are urged to register their vessels and get certified