The good old days! Or shall we say those halcyon days because it wasn’t ages ago when our waters was replete with abundant fish resources?
But The Gambia is now apparently convulsing from a debilitating fish resources carnage, precipitating loss of livelihoods, dwindling household incomes, unemployment, nutritional challenges just to list a few. A country literally in a state of national fish resources tragedy!
From the coastal communities to the hinterland and the countryside, the fish dearth is also threateningly becoming a health issue. As we place epitaphs in our waters for our fish species either through our actions or inactions or the avarice of others, the health ramifications of the absence from our lunch and dinner plates the native fish species of pelagics, demersal, cephalopods and crustaceans are insidiously eating into our household food security.
The scarcity of fish and its prohibitive cost is perturbing and leading to increased food insecurity in many Gambian households. In a country of widespread unemployment and under-employment, the soaring cost of even the hitherto less-valued bonga could be obnoxious to the food value chain.
Why wallow in fish scarcity-related problems when we could bask in our abundant marine resources to promote equitable income distribution and improved urban and rural nutritional status?
The fish brouhaha is increasingly rising in pitch and gaining intensity in tone.
The nation is in nostalgia! Nostalgic of those not-long-ago days when our lunch and dinner plates used to be decorated with all kinds of fish in our waters with no threat to our pockets and general economic health.
Government has to be brave enough and investigate whether it is true that it is the activities of fishmeal factories or large-scale fishing which are causing these devastations to the majority of the already poor, hungry citizens.
The fish palaver must, indeed, be consigned to the past and forthwith for that matter. We need a solution! And we need it fast.