By Olimatou Coker
West African Association for the Development of Artisanal Fisheries in collaboration with the National Sole Fisheries Management Committee (NASCOM) and the Senegalese artisanal fisheries association (RNCLPA) jointly organized a bilateral scientific and technical workshop on sole fisheries held at NaNA.
The three days convergence targeted various artisanal fishing stakeholders from The Gambia and Senegal.
The overall objective of the workshop is to improve scientific and local knowledge on sole tongue fisheries in order to sustainably and jointly manage sole resources as per MSC standards.
At the end of the convergence, the participants would be expected to produce a report on the capitalisation of knowledge and initiatives on the management of sole tongue fisheries, inform participants about the MSC and its reference system for assessing artisanal fisheries and produce recommendations for the sustainable management of sole fisheries.
Muhammed Sidibeh, the Deputy Director of Fisheries, said the fisheries sector has a pivotal role to play in the coastal communities providing sustenance, food and nutrition as well as job opportunities helping to reduce poverty in coastal communities.
“You may all know some of these emblematic species that we have, including the sole fish is a shared species. Therefore, if a source is shared, these also make the management to harmonize to some extent. The joint management of sole fisheries in our respective countries is a testament to the commitment we hold for the well being of our coastal communities and the sustainability of this vital resource”.
The Deputy Director added that the workshop will provide recommendations to improve the sustainable management of sole fisheries risk in both countries.
“We have known that the two governments have fortified and created an environment for partnership through bilateral agreements, laying the groundwork for effective collaboration in fisheries research, the co management of shared resources. And the sharing of expertise, these protocols implementing the agreement on fisheries and aquaculture between the government of the Gambia and the Republic of Senegal recently signed in Senegal is also going to enforce the sustainable management of the important resource”
Moustapha Senghor, Coordinator of The Gambia-Senegal Bilateral Committee, also underscored the importance while paying gratitude to the fisheries for working immensely and in collaboration with NASCOM. He also thanked them for the great work and urged them to continue the momentum.
“This dialogue will help both countries to come up with strategies that will guide us on our delivery. Fishermen should continue to work hard on paving the way forward for our children,” Senghore stated.
Fatou Pierre Choy, chair of the Bilateral Committee, expressed delight while emphasizing that the bilateral agreement between the two countries is of great importance to them.
She disclosed that togetherness can drive the two countries to fight and protect the fisheries sector.
She added: “We will be glad if our neighboring countries are added to the bilateral agreement to further work together in achieving our common goal,” she suggested.