By Madiba Singhateh
The Regional Platform of Non-state Actors of Fisheries Aquaculture sector in West Africa concluded a two-day meeting on 30th January to install the National Platform of Non-state Actors in the sector in the Gambia.
The meeting which was held at Senegambia from the 29th to 30th witnessed the installation of its national platform with the election of their members.
The goals of the regional platform is to function as a forum for dialogue coordination and exchange of experience between non-state actors and to contribute through collaboration with policy makers and other stakeholders, policy development and sustainable management rules for the fisheries and aquaculture sector in ECOWAS member countries and Mauritania.
One of the objectives of the convergence is to play a supervisory role to ensure the effective implementation of policies and intervention to ensure safety and the sustainable livelihood for fishing communities by providing space to coordinate efforts and share knowledge and experience in the implementation of regional initiatives.
Dawda Saine, focal person for WANSAFA in the Gambia, said the meeting aims to discuss opportunities and constraints of the development of artisanal fisheries and aquaculture in the country and the contribution of fisheries to poverty reduction. He said the platform was established in 2014 in Malobo when Ecowas member states decided to come up with the idea of forming non-state actor’s group in fisheries and aquaculture to curb the situation that affects fish and other aquatic mammals.
Gaoussou Guey, President of WANSAFA said the platform was initiated in 2014 in Malobo where presidents gathered to talk about artisanal fishery; that at the meeting, it was decided for the resources in the fisheries sector to be evenly distributed. He said for this to happen, stakeholders in the sector must come together and work to tackle the issue.
Celestin Mboukem who spoke on the behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission welcomed the delegates to the meeting for the installation of WANSAFA’s chapter in the Gambia.
Mboukem said PESCAO/WANSAFA is a program funded by the European Union and Ecowas to improve governance in the fishery sector in Western Africa by including non-state actors under one umbrella; that the program aims to reduce poverty and increase the revenue for people working within the sector. In attendance were the Deputy Permanent Secretary Omar Gibba and the President of the Platform for Non-state Actor in Fisheries and Aquaculture’s (PoNSAFA) Gambia Chapter, Fatou Choi.