29.2 C
City of Banjul
Friday, April 19, 2024
spot_img
spot_img

Navy intercepts 8 fishing trawlers in 24 hours

- Advertisement -

In a decisive strike against illegal fishing, The Gambia Navy, supported by Sea Shepherd’s vessel Age of Union, apprehended eight industrial trawlers off the coast of The Gambia for severe violations of fisheries laws.

Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine conservation activism organisation.

On March 8, armed maritime interdiction units with The Gambia Navy were deployed from the Sea Shepherd ship Age of Union in a law enforcement sweep that netted eight industrial trawlers for serious fisheries offenses ranging from fishing inside of protected waters, fishing without a valid licence, using undersized mesh size and misreporting catch.

- Advertisement -

The series of arrests occurred over a 24-hour period, as Gambia Navy sailors launched a coordinated sting operation based on weeks of intelligence gathering by the Ministry of Defence of The Gambia.

Fishing vessels Majilac 03, Majilac 05, Majilac 06, Majilac 07, Zherui 100612, Hao Yun 1, Hao Yun 2 and Hai Hao 2 were all caught in the bust and were detained at the port of Banjul.

Seven of the eight vessels were arrested for fishing inside of a Special Management Area reserved for artisanal fishermen, and where industrial fishing is outlawed. Four of the vessels were using fishing nets with undersized mesh size.

- Advertisement -

“The Gambia implements mesh size requirements to ensure that undersized and juvenile fish can escape, thereby conserving fish populations to mitigate overfishing. But at-sea patrols are needed to ensure compliance as well as deterring industrial trawlers from entering protected areas.”

Sergio Carlos, captain of Age of Union.

The waters of The Gambia are particularly rich in biodiversity as the country is positioned where the nutrient-rich Gambia River meets the Canary Current. The livelihoods of over 300,000 Gambians are directly or indirectly dependent on local fisheries while the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation  believes that more than 46% of the assessed fish populations in the Eastern Central Atlantic are experiencing overfishing.

“Sea Shepherd commends the actions of The Gambian government in taking strong action against industrial trawlers that circumvent laws, fishing in protected areas and jeopardizing the livelihoods of local communities. Since the arrests, our captain and crew are reporting that all other industrialized trawlers are keeping outside of the Special Management Area, where The Gambia Navy continues to stand watch from Age of Union,” Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s director of campaigns said.

Operation Gambian Coastal Defense is a unique partnership with the government of The Gambia that started in 2019 to conduct joint at sea patrols to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img