Symposium on threats to ecosystem starts

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By Juldeh Njie Stakeholders in the fisheries sector yesterday convened to discuss and address transboundary issues on fisheries, threats to biodiversity and water quality. It was the 7th steering committee meeting of the project on the Protection of the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem, (CCLME) and is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with co-financing from participating countries and other partners and being implemented by FAO and the United Nations Environment Program. Targeting seven countries The Gambia, Cabo Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Morocco and Senegal, it would promote cooperation between project partner countries and various stakeholders. It seeks to establish adequate mechanisms of good governance to the managing sustainably of the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem. Dr Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO country rep, said the initiative would allow participants to review the achievements of the project and examine the status of the main products of it. She said: “The project aims to reverse the trend of degradation of this ecosystem, caused by overfishing, habitat change and changes in the quality of the water, by adopting a management based on the ecosystem approach. “The project also allowed the identification and analysis of common concerns and transboundary issues of the Canary Current marine ecosystem through the development of a transboundary diagnostic analysis and to prioritise and propose applicable solutions in a strategic action plan adopted by the countries.” Dr Bamba Banja, the permanent secretary at the ministry of fisheries, said the participation of The Gambia in the canary current large marine ecosystem reflects the importance of the fisheries sector to the socio economic development of the country. He said: “It is important because the sector significantly contribute to employment creation, to food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation, generation of revenue and foreign exchange. These are the policy objective of the fisheries sector and by extension our NDP 2018-2021”. He said pelagic fish are important as they are transboundary in nature. “Therefore the ministry has accorded high priority for the sustainable management of the fish stuck.” The current population of CCLME according to the oraganisers, is estimated at 64.5 million, and although the rate of population growth has declined over the last 20 years, it remains above 2 percent per year (2011 estimate, World Bank 2013). In addition, a study carried out under the CCLME project estimated the annual economic value of ecosystem goods and services provided by the CCLME at around 11.7 billion euros. It has been estimated that CCLME fisheries currently provide thousands of jobs and livelihoods for many artisanal fishermen, many of whom migrate far in and out of the region, fishing and selling fish and products derived from it, beyond national borders. Untitled 35 The first project steering committee meeting of the CCLME that was held in Dakar, Senegal in November 2010, agreed on the establishment of eight technical working groups to assist the process of development of a Transboundary Diagnosis Analysis (TDA) and the elaboration of a Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the CCLME. These tasks were achieved with success and the SAP was signed by 12 Ministers of Environment and Fisheries of the 7 countries.]]>