Interview by Hatab Nyang
Hatab: There is a lot of fish on the shores and along the roadside of certain coastal villages. What caused this?
Minister: It is caused by illegal fishing. Because there are laws that say that you should not catch juvenile fish and there are laws which states nobody should buy juvenile fish, so the fishermen went and caught juvenile fish and they gave it to the transporters who were trying to sell these juvenile fish to factories. The factories cannot buy juvenile fish because it is illegal. There’s a law against this practice. So they decided to dump it on the beach and at the roadside, which is also illegal.
Hatab: Is this a temporary phenomenon?
Minister: Well I believe it is because I didn’t know of any other time that this has happened. Since I became the minister of fisheries this is first time.
Hatab: Over supplying the factories. Is there any means to prevent this?
Minister: I told you we have laws. The laws do not allow people to catch juvenile fish. When you catch juvenile fish you are supposed to dump it straight away in the sea. You cannot call this over supply. Now this factory has a capacity, and they cannot buy more than their capacity. When I went to the fishermen on Saturday that’s what I told them. If you have a lot of people going out to the sea for fishing why don’t you set it as a time table. This number will go on Monday, this number on Tuesday etc. Because if all of them go at once, when they bring their catch, they cannot sell all the fish and these results in losses. I encourage them to form a committee with all the stakeholders so that they can begin to discuss among themselves. Because they are the ones in the business and they are not in the business to lose. They could be able to agree on how to negotiate among themselves.
Hatab: Waste water in septic pipe and manhole are concentrated and need to be diluted before disposal otherwise it can cause hazard to the environment. Will your ministry look into this?
Minister: Already, the minister of environment has looked into this. They have made their recommendations. They have told the factory what to do and the factory will only operate fully with what the environment minister tells them to do. So definitely that had been looked into.