By Makutu Manneh
Fishermen in Tanji and Brufut Fish landing sites lament the low catch they are experiencing since the beginning of the year.
This, they said, has affected their businesses, and they attribute the problem to the ‘invasion’ of the Gambia’s territorial waters by fishing trawlers which use unauthorized nets to catch all sizes of fish including infant ones that is later dumped in the sea. The fishermen in both the two landing sites confirm that during this time in previous years, they use to have bumper catches but this is the contrary nowadays.
Visiting these fish landing sites recently, a lot of fishing boats were seen idle and moored ashore. Fishermen were seen seated in their boats looking devastated because of the situation. Tanji and Brufut are major fishing centres where many Gambians earn their living. The fishermen complained that Chinese trawlers in Gambian waters are doing more harm than good, and therefore the authorities should look into this issue with urgency.
Abdou Kumba Nije, President of the Tanji Fishermen Association, said one of their major problems is the advent of trawlers in Gambian waters which according to him catches young fishes; adding this is because those trawlers use small ‘size nets’. He added that fishing sometimes is seasonal especially during the windy season which is normal, but he pointed out that the current situation is far from normal. “Government should take action because the main source of revenue for the country is over exploited,” he pointed out.
Abdoulie Nyang, a fisherman at the Brufut landing site said he mainly catches butterfish, white fish and barracuda which he weighs and sells to businessmen and women who resell at hotels. “There is one major problem affecting fishers in the Gambia and this is the coming of Chinese trawlers,” he decried.
Nyang indicated that nowadays, lots of trawlers fish where small boat owners operate; that trawlers are supposed to fish in deep waters, but this is not done.
Many people who spoke to this reporter, express similar remarks.
For months now fish has been a major problem for fishmongers and consumers, leading to the high price of fish in the country. This reporter went to the Fisheries Ministry to get their reaction on the issues raised, but was told that the Minister has travelled, and the Permanent Secretary said he cannot comment on the issue until Thursday 18th April 2019.
Foroyaa will continue to pursue this issue and will update readers on the developments.