“Fisher folks in The Gambia face numerous barriers that prevent them from sustainably addressing the impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture” FAOR, Moshibudi Rampedi
25 February 2021, Banjul -Fish is the cheapest source of animal protein. It accounts for about 40 percent of total animal protein in The Gambia. As of 2010, the sector accounted for 3.4 percent of GDP, with huge potentials increase. Per capita fish consumption estimates are put at between 25kg and 27kg per year along the coast line, and an average of 9kg in the interior of the country. Most Gambians eat fish every day, and some at least 5 times in the week. However, the impact of climate change is threatening this very important sector as it further compounds the strain caused by overfishing, pollution, and habitat degradation.
The climate stressors identified within the Gambia fisheries ecology include, rise in temperature, ocean circulation, acidification, deoxygenation, precipitation, salinity and so on. These conditions impact on productivity and affects communities and livelihoods in fisheries and aquaculture. This makes it pertinent to adapt to and mitigate climate change in a human-centred manner. It is in that regard that the Gambia Government requested the support of the FAO Gambia Country office to develop and fund a proposal for a Climate Resilient Fishery Initiative for Livelihood Improvement. In June 2018, a Concept Note was submitted to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), where it was reviewed and given a positive feedback. The FAO Gambia Country Office further mobilized internal funds and requested additional resources from the GCF to develop of a full project proposal. Other FAO divisions, in particular the Climate and Environment Division (OCB) and the Africa Service of the Investment Centre (CFIA), are lending support to this process.
As part of the project formulation process, FAO Gambia, on behalf of the Project Formulation Taskforce, held a one-day National Stakeholders Consultation Workshop. The event was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre was also attended virtually. The objectives of the workshop were to re-familiarize stakeholders with the GCF Project requirements and process; present the progress made, including preliminary investment proposals and project activities; and to seek feedback, validation and further information from the national stakeholders.
Present at the opening ceremony were Mr Omar Gibba, Acting Permanent Secretary Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, Shibu Rampedi, FAO Country Representative, staff from the Fisheries Ministry, FAO Country Office, FAO Head Quarters Climate Change and Fisheries Technical Experts as well as stakeholders in the Fisheries Sector. In delivering the opening statement, Mr Gibba expressed the Ministry’s appreciation of the commitment, dedication and devotion of the partners who have been engaged in the project. He reaffirmed the Ministry’s continued resolve to enhance the socio-economic livelihood of Gambians. He described the impact of climate change on the fisheries sector as terrorism to livelihoods.
In delivering her remarks, FAO Representative, Shibu Rampedi expressed delight at the commitment and priority The Gambia Government gives to the development of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector. She raised concerns on how fisheries-dependent communities live a precarious and vulnerable existence due to inadequate essential infrastructure. “Fisher folks in The Gambia face numerous barriers that prevent them from timely addressing the impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture”, she said. She called for sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture, for economic growth.
The project proposes an integrated approach to mitigate and adapt to the climate change impacts on the Fisheries sub-sector. As such, the overall Project Developmental Objective is to conserve and protect fisheries resources and their habitats. The Project will address the impacts of climate change through sustainable mitigation and adaptation measures, thereby enhancing climate resilience of fishing communities. The Project will be implemented in ten communities, with an estimated 30,000 direct beneficiaries and 300,000 indirect beneficiaries. The project has an estimated budget of US$ 17,310,000 – to be financed by a GCF grant of US$ 15,310,000 and complemented by domestic co-financing of up to US$ 2,000,000 from the Government of the Gambia.
Participants at the workshop expressed delight at the progress of the project formulation and are confident that if successfully implemented, it will be a game changer in the Gambia fisheries sector.