Hon. Gomes who was summoned by the NAMS stated that the industrial fisheries sub-sector capital intensive and involves the use of fishing trawlers and land-based fish processing and feed plants.
He explained that a total of twelve (12) fish processing establishments and three (3) fish mills are established in the country adding that from 2017 to date, the activities of industrial fishing have created employment for two thousand, eight hundred and nine (2809) Gambian youths of which two thousand, one hundred and twenty-four (2124) are deckhands and six hundred and eighty-five (685) as fisheries observers.
“Aquaculture is still at its infancy and has a huge potential in The Gambia given the nutritional and economic potential of this sub-sector.” He revealed.
The Minister further clarified the issue with the recent bumper harvest of Sardinella fish locally known as "Yaiboye" at the Tanja landing site on 18th June 2021 which resulted in undesirable post-harvest losses.
He explained that the fish could not be sold by the women fish processors and other middlemen including those using refrigerated trucks for marketing and distribution up-country.
“The remaining fish could not be preserved due to lack of adequate ice because of electricity outage which resulted to the spoilage.” He confirmed.
Hon. Gomes specified that the situation happened only at Tanji fish landing site contrary to other reports and is highly regrettable as it was beyond control. To prevent the reoccurrence of such post-harvest losses, consultations between the Fisheries Ministry, Department of Fisheries and other stakeholders will be intensified according to Minister Gomes.
During the question and answer session at the National Assembly, National Assembly Members deemed it necessary for the Fisheries Minister to present the Senegalo-Gambia fishing agreement for ratification.
The Nationally Assembly Member for Foni Kansala moved a motion for the Minister of Fisheries to urgently present that fishing agreement between Senegal and The Gambia before the National Assembly.
The Minister responded with an apology while stating that the agreement is not a new one. “It was signed in the first republic followed by the second republic and is in continuance.” He said.
He further added that his Fisheries Ministry would consult the Ministry of Justice and the necessary steps would be taken.
Vessel owners and agents operating in Gambian waters are urged to register their vessels and get certified