BY: Kebba AF Touray, reporting from Gunjur fishing center
Fisher folks in Gunjur have expressed their views on the large amount of fish found on its beaches and roadsides.
Musa Jammeh, a fisher folk at the center explained that the cause of fish dumping on the said beach was due to the following reasons:
- The catch was high and the company could not purchase all the catches and as such, the remaining fish got rotten which was dumped in the sea by the fishermen.
- The fishing boats were overloaded and a heavy storm caused wreckage of the boats and the fish were washed onto the shores.
- Some took their fish from Tanji for sale at the fish meal but they were not bought because the mill had reached its capacity. When this happened they get irritated and dumped the fish on their way going back.
Jammeh said that the waste pipe that links the company to the sea is used for removing waste water from the fish processed by the company to sea. He opined that this does not cause any hazards either to the fishermen or the fish. He finally pointed out that the high cost of fuel and fishing gears are their major challenges and called on the government to offer a helping hand to them.
Salifu Keita, a middle age man at the fishing point revealed that the dumping was because six (6) fishing boats were over loaded and when hit by heavy storm and waves they were wrecked. He further stated that in the following morning, they assembled on the beach, dug holes and buried the rotten fish. He stated they faced two different challenges, which he added are both natural (heavy win) and artificial (night fishing) as their constraints and implored the government to make night fishing a thing of the past. He further urged the government to help them with the needed fishing gears.
On his part the president of Net fishing Association, Mr. Lamin Sarr, also stated that the fish dumped on the way was done by some fish supplying vehicles from Tanji and the boats that were wrecked by heavy storm and water waves, which washed them back on the beach. He refuted that the dumping of fish was done by the Chinese fishing company, indicating that they are here as fish processing and business entrepreneurs.
Lamin Jatta, an intermediate between the Chienese and the natives, attributed the cause as the failure of the company to purchase some fish as it had reached its capacity, which he said irritated some fishermen and has compelled them to dump their fish on the beach. He said that the company processes fish into fish meal and fish oil and explained that the fish meal is exported to China, whilst the fish oil is bought by foreign interested companies.
On the issue of the waste pipe, Jatta said that it removes waste water from the fishes processed by the company and believes it has government approval.
He stated that when the news broke out, the company has halted operations as intuitions such as NEA and Water Resources went to the company, took water for sampling and it (the company) now awaits the results of that process to resume operations, which he expects to be in two days.