By Olimatou Coker
The Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources yesterday launched its Global Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (GMES) project at the fisheries ministry in Banjul.
Funded by the EU through the AU, the project seeks to support the country on environmental and security enhancement mechanisms in information collection and dissemination with a view to combating illegal fishing activities in The Gambia.
The permanent secretary at the ministry of fisheries Dr Bamba Banja said “as a country we are very happy to be part of this programme. We have realised the importance of Monitoring Environment and Security in Africa (Mesa) in helping us towards the management and development of the fisheries sector. This will support us in combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities.”
According to Banja, the project will strengthen achievements registered already under the Mesa initiative.
“We are very happy that we formally launch this project today,” he said.
He said the fisheries department is “doing everything” to ensure the combatting of illegal fishing practices in Gambian waters.
He said the ministry is currently negotiating the procuring of an effective and efficient fishing inspection vessel for the navy in order to help them in their monitoring and surveillance activities.
“I will not dwell into the importance of fisheries sector, because I guess by now all of us should be aware or know the importance of fisheries in the national social development of this country. It is a very important sector and we have to make sure that we all play our role in ensuring that we have a sustainable fisheries sector that will benefit or will continue to benefit us and generations to come,” he stated.
Gabin Agblonon, project manager Wetlands International Africa, said the GMES project is to build on the achievements of Mesa for growth and development.