By Madiba Singhateh /Kebba Secka
The Government of The Gambia and European Union have signed a fisheries agreement. This was revealed at a press conference by the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Mr James Gomez, at a press briefing on Wednesday 24th October held at the ministry.
According to the Minister, the agreement makes provision for the operation of EU vessels for reference of 3000 tonnes per annum for tuna and tuna like. He said the protocol makes provision for a financial contribution from the European Union of EUR 550,000 per year, including EUR 275,000 for access and EUR 275,000 for sectoral support.
According to him, there will be additional financial contributions from ship-owners of EUR 350,000 per year, that will be corresponding to the estimated annual amount of fees, due by the ship-owners in respect of fishing authorization.
‘Overall a total amount of EUR 900,000 per year is the financial compensation which is equivalent EUR 5.4 million for the six year period,’he said.
He explained that while the level of the catch is maintained at 3,000 tonnes per year for tuna and tuna like species, the level of fishing opportunities is set at 28 seiners, 10 poles and lines and 3 deep sea-water trawlers.
He emphasised that the agreement covers only Tuna and Tuna like species and hake fish.
According to the Minister, the scope of the agreement and protocol should enable this partnership to strengthen cooperation in development of sustainable fisheries, in fighting against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, the promotion of the blue economy including the aquaculture and the support to the artisanal fisheries sector.
The minister also spoke about the climate Smart WASH Developments.
The minister said he is pleased to inform the public about the African Development Bank on the Climate Wash Development.
He added that the Government intends to apply for grants from the Global Environment Facility (GCF) and Adoption Fund (AF) for financing the same project.
The Minister said that the current project is on the 5th phase and is called Saudi Sahel Projects Phase.
He said the project was signed on 30 March.
He concluded that the $4million project is 18 months starting from 1 April 2018, the project 25 water reticulation system (which includes overhead water tanks, drilling of boreholes and installation of pipe work; that the project will enable 50,000 Gambians to have access to safe drinking water.
Speaking on the GOTG and UNICEF country of cooperation, he said over 53 new toilets block was constructed while 52 schools benefited.