By Olimatou Coker
Last week, the fisheries ministry reviewed and validated 3 documents during a workshop held at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
The validation workshop was funded by the European Union.
The ministry has formulated draft fisheries and aquaculture policy (2022-2031) and fisheries and aquaculture strategy (2022-2031). The draft policy and strategy succeeded the previous policy and strategic document adopted by the sector over the past years.
Since the adoption of the previous policy and strategic plan, the fisheries and aquaculture sector has increasingly evolved necessitating a rethink of the sector’s approach to the current needs of the country and also for sustainable and efficient management of the fisheries sector.
Speaking at the validation, Momodou Sidibeh, deputy director of fisheries, said the reviews include the fisheries sector’s contribution to food security, sustainable economic and environmental development, the impact of climate change, and variability on living marine resources.
“The fisheries sector has the potential to tame poverty, malnutrition, and unemployment issues and contribute to national socio-economic development. However, it is generally agreed that the Gambian fisheries and aquaculture sector is operating below potential.”
He said the last policy update was in 2007 which appears inadequate in addressing emerging issues the sector is confronted with, especially under a changing climate, including an increase in non-sustainable fishing practices. A good policy and legislative frameworks are essential for the rational and long-term sustainable exploitation and utilization of the fisheries resources in the country.
“The Gambia government recognizes the need for a coherent strategy and associated action plan and management tools to address the challenges of the fisheries sector and inform decision making about investments in the sector.
This is one of the action points in the National Development Plan to review and update the Fisheries legal frameworks including the Act, of 2007 and the Fisheries Regulation, of 2008. This report reflects current realities with a strong focus on the sustainable use and management of marine resources,” he said.
He added that the policy review process is a consultative one, intended to capture the needs and aspirations of our key stakeholders and reflect their sectoral goals.
Sidibeh also urged the participants to look at the document to make it better surgically, “it is no secret that the success of this workshop is your active participation.”
Omar D. Bah, permanent secretary, said these documents will serve them for the next 10 years or so. “The ministry of fisheries and water resources has a core mandate to manage the fisheries and marine resources.”
He also thanked the EU and partners for their assistance
“We hope these 2 days validation will give us a better document”.