By Olimatou Coker
Fisheries and Water Resources minister James Gomez has condemned illegal fishing as a serious “criminal offence.”
To avoid its exploitation, the minister called for stronger measures and concerted efforts.
“There should be accountability and transparency for the fishing industry to contribute to The Gambian economy,” he said.
Minister Gomez was speaking Friday at the annual general meeting of Association of Gambia Fisheries Observers, held at the NaNa conference hall in Kanifing south.
He said its potential and vibrancy means the industry can become as powerful as tourism.
The Chairman of AGFO, Baboucarr Sarr, gave a brief background of the fisheries observers association, saying it is an independent specialists who serve onboard commercial fishing vessels or in fish processing plants and other platforms.
He said: “We The Gambia fisheries observers have decided to form an association and formulate a code of conduct in pursuit of our collective will to preserve and protect the marine resources of our land.”
The Secretary General of AGFO, Baba Dibba, said the day marks a historic milestone in the development of the association, with the objective to protect the marine resources.
“We serve as an apex for the interest of Gambian youth in the industrial fishing sub-sector,” the secretary noted.
According to him, since its establishment decades ago, the association is unable to achieve its aims and objectives because its mandate, and responsibilities were never reviewed.
Other speakers included the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources, National Assembly matters and Dr Bamba Banja , Director of Fisheries , Famara Darboe.