The African Confederation of Artisanal Fisheries Professional Organization (CAOPA) and its partners including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the National Association of Artisanal Fisheries Operators of Gambia (NAAFO), the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA), the Sub-regional Fishermen Commission (SRFC), and Gambian Government yesterday, began a two-day workshop on the establishment of a Pan-African Agenda for Sustainable Artisanal Fisheries (PASAF), at a local resort in Gambia.
By George Harris
The workshop which proceeds the commemoration of the World Fisheries Day, brought together members of the Confederation to discuss challenges and formulate a helpful roadmap to achieving a sustainable artisanal fishing environment across the African Continent.
According to the President of CAOPA, Gaoussou Gueye, the workshop is meant to help members of the Confederation in two ways.
First, the workshop will enable members to have extensive information on the sector and this will enable them to identify major challenges that are to be addressed. Secondly, he said that members of the Confederation are expected to formulate recommendations for both governments and professionals with a view of adopting measures which will guarantee its sustainability.
“[The workshop] aims to identify the major challenges and problems to be solved in order to developed sustainable artisanal fisheries and aquaculture in Africa in relation to key issues [including]; transparency in African maritime fishing, impacts of climate change on coastal communities, women role in small-scale fishing, funding of artisanal fisheries, challenges of IUU fishing and improving the contribution of artisanal fisheries to food security,” says Gaye.
Additionally, the Government of Gambia through the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters (MFWSNAM), has assured CAOPA of its collaboration to developing a sustainable artisanal fisheries environment in the Gambia.
Dr. Bamba A. M Banja, who proxy for the Minister of (MFWSNAM), disclosed that the Gambian government is working with partners to improve the management, development, and protection of fisheries resources across the country.
“Mr. Chairman, at the bilateral, Sub-regional and international level, we are working to improve the management, development, and protection of our fisheries resources through strengthening collaboration and cooperation in the fight against Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing activities,” said Dr. Banja.
Despite his government collaboration to ensuring a sustainable fishing environment, He noted that the increasing demand for fish on the international market has unfolded problems that are affecting the Gambia and other African states. He said that the ever-increasing demand of fish at the international level has resulted in overcapacity in both the large and small-scale fisheries in the Gambia.
“Overcapacity in fisheries has given rise to a series of problems of profound and terrible consequences.” Dr. Banja lamented. “The competition for fish in the absence of appropriate management practices continue to increase and intensify resulting in the rapid depletion of the resource, the destruction of ecosystems and fish habitats, and diminishing economic returns.”
Earlier the host member of the Confederation, NAAFO applauded the Government of Gambia and CAOPA for their respective contributions to ensuring that both the workshop and World Fisheries Day commemoration ceremony be held in the Gambia. The two events will unfold activities which include; presentations, special remarks, and visitation of small-scale fisheries sites.