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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

Gambia launches campaign to check illegal fishing

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Mr Jarra gave the announcement yesterday while officially introducing fishermen at the Bakau landing site to the government-sanctioned campaign.

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He said: “Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing if not eradicated will definitely be reduced. Therefore, all artisanal fishermen operating in the country are requested to register their fishing boats, otherwise they will lose the privilege of fishing in the Gambian waters. 

“All 172 fish landing sites and regions were fishing boats are based are given with code numbers. Any fishing boat found fishing in the waters of The Gambia without registration will be arrested and the fishing unit could be confiscated to the state.” 

Jarra said in addition to ensuring every fishing boat in the country is registered, his ministry will accordingly deal with fishing at the fish “spawning and breeding grounds”.

He added: “May I remind the fishers to change any of their fishing nets with illegal mesh and small hook sizes. Fishermen are also advised to avoid fishing at the fish spawning and breeding grounds.  The objective of this exercise is clearly stated in the fisheries regulations 2008, that the director of fisheries shall maintain a register of commercial fishing canoes, in which shall be entered the name of a person who owns a fishing canoe and meets the requirements of regulation  17, a document that can be accessed at fisheries departments.” 

Meanwhile, in a historic ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea – the first of its kind by the full tribunal – the body affirmed that “flag States” have a duty of due diligence to ensure that fishing vessels flying their flag comply with relevant laws and regulations concerning marine resources to enable the conservation and management of these resources.

Flag States, ruled the tribunal, must take necessary measures to ensure that these vessels are not engaged in illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in the waters of member countries of West Africa’s Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SFRC). Further, they can be held liable for breach of this duty. The ruling specifies that the European Union has the same duty as a state. The Gambia and sister countries in West Africa are believed to have the highest levels of IUU fishing in the world, representing up to 37 percent of the region’s catch.

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