Gambia`s Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang said the Gambia government has taken operational steps to ensure that “illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is dramatically reduced” along the country`s coastline.
She made these remarks at a conference on West Africa Marine Eco Regional (GO WAMER), organized by Gambia`s Fisheries and environment ministry in partnership with UNDP.
The WAMER project is designed to improve governance and promote the adoption of best practice for sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in West Africa.
According to VP Tambajang, the Gambia is tackling illegal fishing through “surveillance of fishing waters, creation of conservation areas and enforcement fisheries management regulations.”
“The objective of management and conservation of fisheries resources cannot be done by government alone.
“The role of communities is very significant, as they are the users of resources.
“Government therefore welcomes co-management of resources with community based associations.”
She explained that the project has supported in the development of management plans for Tanbi National Wetland Complex and Bao Bolong Wet Land Reserve for sustainable management of the marine protected areas among others in the Gambia.
The project initiated in 2012 and implemented in six West African countries including The Gambia, Capo Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal is facing out on the 21st December 2017.
VP Tambajang expresses Gambia government’s request for development partners’ renewed collaboration in designing projects specifics to the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources.
And, added that: “This will ensure that the gains of this project are sustained as we embark on the implementation of the new National Development Program and SDGs.”
The EU Ambassador to the Gambia Mr. Altila Lajos said the adopted Agenda 2030 for sustainable development has highlighted the significance of oceans for development.
According to him, the conferences held in New York and Malta have both underlined the need to manage oceans in a sustainable way that they can fully contribute to “poverty reduction, food security, economic growth and climate change mitigation.”
“In that sense, oceans should not be seen in isolation, but contributor to the achievement of other important elements of the 2030 agenda”, said Lajos.
Western Africa oceans play pivotal roles in the social, economic and political life of the people. It`s a source of employment, income and foreign exchange earnings and a key contributor to regional food security.
The UN Resident Coordinator who is also UNDP`s Representative, Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, said the fisheries sector in general and small scale fisheries in particular, plays an important role in food security, employment and income generation in The Gambia and Africa as a whole.
“It employs more than 3 million full time workers. About 10 percent of working population of the region and contributes significantly to wealth and long term development of the coastline.”
She revealed that as a result of over exploitation, unsustainable and illegal fishing practices, especially by foreign fleets, the EU and UNDP in 2012 jointly co financed the “GO-WAMER on Governance, Marine Resources Management Policies and Poverty Reduction in the WAMER Eco region”, in the six African countries to the tune of 10.5 million Euros for the six periods.