James F.P Gomez, minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, has debunked claims that certain fishing vessels entered the creeks of The Gambia and were engaged in indiscriminate fishing.
These claims were made on certain social media platforms. Upon seeing this information, he said, the Fisheries Ministry sent staff of the Department of Fisheries to go and verify the claim, only to find out that it is unfounded.
“The Ministry is aware of the importance of the creek, and the mangrove ecosystem in the regeneration of fish stocks and will not relent in protecting the fragile environment,” Minister Gomez vowed.
He pointed out that industrial fishing is regulated, and that fishing vessels or trawlers are not allowed to fish in the near shore because that is an infringement of the Fisheries Regulations 2008.
During a recent National Assembly session, the member for Kiang West constituency, Fakebba NL Colley, requested the Minister of Fisheries to inform the Assembly the number and nationalities of fishing vessel operators that illegally fished in The Gambian sea and were intercepted by The Gambia Navy since 2018. The minister responded that from 2018 to date, a total of 32 arrests were made involving 21 Gambian, 2 Senegalese, 6 Chinese and 3 Turkish registered fishing vessels. He said the fishing vessels arrested were all legally authorised or licensed to fish in the exclusive economic zone but they violated the licensing conditions which resulted to their arrests.