GAMBIA - The director of the Gambian Fisheries Department has said that the country’s aquaculture prospects look promising due to the readily available markets (local, regional, and international) produce.
Nfamara Dampha recently made these remarks in Basse, Upper River Region (URR) while at the forum on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing practices and preservation of biological resources for communities in the region, reports the Observer.
The event was organised by the Network of Parliamentarians and Locally Elected Representatives (APPEL).
He said The Gambia is blessed with three types of waters – marine, fresh and brackish waters – noting that these can support a wide range of cultivation. The Gambia’s good location, he said made it possible for fish exportation by airplane, ship or lorry. He added that there is also the availability of relatively pollution-free aquatic environment, high tidal amplitude (1 meter), and availability of cheap labour in the country.
“The Fisheries Department has concluded an MoU with Department of Youth and Sports with a view to incorporating youth involvement in aquaculture. The Department of Fisheries, through the advice of the Ministry has established a special committee comprising the Department, the National Youth Service Sheme (NYSS) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports,” he revealed.
Dampha further explained: “The Gambia’s territorial sea extends to 12 nautical miles with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles. The coastline, from Bunaidu to Kartong, the last bordered village with Senegal on the south bank is approximately 70 km long. The country claims a total maritime area of 4000Km and 10,500Km of continental shelf.”
He said statistics have shown that the country has marine, brackish and fresh water with 155 landing sites, 500 rine and inland fish species, 1410 head fishermen, 4694 other fishermen, 3096 Gambians and 1598 foreigners, 1702 canoes (625 motorised and 1082 un-motorised).
He told the locals that Fisheries Department and its line ministry are responsible for the management of the fisheries resources and the enforcement of the Fisheries Act and Regulation, as well as fisheries development, both artisanal and industrial among others.
On the opportunities in fish production and marketing, Dampha enlightened that the sector comprises mainly two sub-sectors: the industrial and the artisanal. “The activities of industrial fisheries involve use of fishing trawlers as well as fish processing plants/ factories both of which are expensive and demand high operational costs in terms of fuel and other logistics,” he said.
The artisanal fisheries, the director further explained, comprise a population of traditional fishermen in the coastal and inland fishing villages.
“They produce 60 per cent of the total national landings. The artisanal fisheries sub-sector is contributing greatly towards the country’s fisheries development policy in improving food security as well as provision of employment and income generation,” he concluded.
TheFishSite News Desk