By Fatoumatta K Jallow
The Department of Fisheries with support from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the
United Nations (FAO) on Wednesday, 4 October 2016, commenced a three day training on fisheries community cooperatives in the fisheries value chain management at the NaNA conference hall.
Mr. Matarr Bah, the Director of Fisheries, described the training as important as it will help participants in the way they handle fish and fishery products at all times and also ensure that the fish they consume locally and the fish destined for export are safe.
The Fisheries Director said this is why community based organizations in the form of fisheries community cooperatives are invited to this training programme so as to enable them better to manage the fisheries value chain in their various localities to avoid wasteful post- harvest losses of fish which can result in diminished income generating capacity of fishers.
He also noted that fishing and fishery related activities are of paramount importance to the economy of The Gambia in the drive to achieve food self-sufficiency by contributing significantly to the vision and quest for food self- sufficiency as enshrine in the goal and aim of government to reach food security by 2016.
Mr. Bah added that this two year FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) for the development of the artisanal fisheries in the Gambia has the main objective of assisting government to enhance the development of the artisanal fisheries sub sector and related activities through the engagement and participation of all stakeholders in a participatory process that will improve and raise awareness in the overall fisheries value chain management as well as to ensure fish product safety for local consumption and export.
The fisheries director said the ministry of environment, climate change and natural resources has undertaken steps to reform and initiate a review and update of the fisheries Act of 2007 and the fisheries Regulations of 2008. He added that these documents will be copied and made available to fishing communities to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the Fisheries Regulations to enable them take full responsibilities of fishing and fishery related activities in their localities.
He also noted that this FAO-TCP will endeavor to usher in and improve the level of awareness and participation of fisher folks in the drive to put in place steps geared towards the sustainable and equitable exploitation of fisheries resources in a prudent management process for continuity of fish supply for posterity. He added that this is aimed at economic growth, employment and increased food security.
The fisheries director finally commended FAO for funding and guiding the implementation of the programme activities.
Biram Laity Fye, National Project Coordinator FAO TCP /GAM /3502, also urged participants to take the training seriously as its equally important as any other training.
He said the management of value chain is very important because Gambian fish is exported to various places around the world through the European Union, Asia, Israeli, Vietnam, China and japan.
The project coordinator said the way they manage their fisheries resources is very important and that it should be done in a way that the fish is good for local feeding and fit to export in the required standard.
The training ends today, 7 October 2016.