By Juldeh Njie The Minister of fisheries, water resources and national assembly matters James Gomez Thursday visited the Banjul fishery jetty as part of his familiarization tour of institutions under his purview. The visit to the Banjul jetty is one among many to follow in the upcoming days as the new minister plans to cover the length and breadth of the country. Speaking shortly after the arrival of the Minister, the jetty general manager, Buba Njie expressed his department’s sincere gratitude to minister Gomez for choosing their department as his first courtesy call. “The minister’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time for my department,” he said. He said the fishery jetty is having a project document waiting to be implemented and the coming of a new minister could possibly pave the way for that project’s immediate effects. “The 4.5M proposed project is supposedly to be an initial capital to assist the jetty to meet its operational basic needs, maintenance and others amounting,” he said. Mr Njie further attributed the shortage of resources as the obstacle to the fisheries department mal-performance in recent years. He continued: “Throughout the past years our objectives were to attract more vessels, create incentives for the vessels to come and also enjoy good landing catches in the Gambia so that the processing plans that we have will be able to grow because we have very limited processing plans”. He continues: “If all the vessels that are given licenses come to the Gambia to land their catch it will be difficult for the current processing plans to store, process and market them”. He said if there was a proper collaboration with the ministry of fisheries and GPA in the past years they would have been able to attract more vessels to the Gambia. “But unfortunately in 2015 an embargo was made on issuance of licenses to review the fisheries regulations but to our dismay the minister takes a lot of time in finalizing those reviews,” he noted. “The jetty as we speak is facing many constraints ranging from high cost of fuel and lack of capacity. As you can see the jetty cannot handle big fishing trawlers and the kind of jetties available with us can only carry 10 tons maximum,” he stressed. He reassured the minister of his department’s willingness to work hand in glove with the government and the ministry of fisheries in ensuring that they meet their projected goals. “We have to work together to see what kind of strategies can be put in place for more fish to come to the Gambia. It is crucial that we also look at some of the policies we have in place, review them to ensure they meet the needs of the sector,” he added. The DG at the ministry of fisheries, Matarr Bah said the jetty is meant for artisanal fisheries not for industrial fisheries as its main idea was to address food insecurity, employment and as well bring revenue for the country. Meanwhile, the managing director of GPA Lamin L Sanyang said: “I think the main importance of the fisheries jetty is to start planning something that will lift its operation immediately”. “We believe looking at the coast line of the nature of fish it doesn’t recognize boundaries. We are losing a lot simply because if we don’t catch our fish they flee to other countries like Senegal,” he said. Speaking at the occasion, the fisheries minister, James Gomez expressed gratitude to the fisheries department for their hard work and commitment over the years. “I hope that this corporation will continue to expand and encourage private sector investment in this area in the coming years,” he said. He noted that Gambians should come on board and invest in the sector, saying “We should understand that government cannot do alone. We can only achieve our dreams through collective involvement, together we can make happen”. “If we are able to invest well in this sector it will able to bring more earning and as well give our younger people employment opportunities. We can begin to create Gambian millionaires in our industry,” the minister confidently asserted. He assured them of his office’s full commitment and support in the coming years.]]>
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