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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 25 Oct 2019 : 11:51:38
" Even Lawmakers now question the establishment of fishmeal factories and the benefits they have for the country and her economy."
With Madiba Singhateh October 24, 2019
Welcome to another Edition of the Environment and in today’s Column we will take a look into the issue of the high demand of fish from fish-meal factories and the impact this has on local fishermen and fish stocks in place.
Fish meal and fish oil have been major demands for Fishmeal factories in The Gambia and this has greatly upset local fishermen in the country’ coastal fishing villages. China is one country that is said to import 60% of fishmeal products to feed the vast numbers of fish farms.
Fishmeal products is also said to be imported by Norway, USA, Russia, Turkey and other countries as well.
Fish feed which is derived from flat sardinella, horse and chub mackerel and sardinella anchovy or ‘bonga’, are typically used by fishmeal factories to produce feed for thousands of fish farms in Asia, Europe and Russia, and most of these farms are typically fed by fishmeal products from the Gambia and the sub-region.
Peru is also said to be another major haven for fishmeal factories.
Artisanal fisher folk whose livelihoods depend on selling and smoking fish in the country, have accused the fishmeal industries of over fishing and depleting the fish stock levels of the country, and have accused them of buying juvenile fish from some fisher folk.
In a recent published project by the NBC and Global reporting which covered China, Peru, Gambia and Senegal, 25% of fish caught in the waters of these countries do not land on their plates but are churned into fishmeal and fish oils to feed fish in other countries.
The report which includes comments by Yvonne Sadovy, a marine biologist and professor at Hong Kong University who has studied the South China Sea for more than 25 years, states that China has more than 32,000 square miles of fish farms in an area the size of South Carolina; adding that the demand for both fishmeal and so-called trash fish is putting increasing pressure on marine resources in these countries.
Sadovy and other experts warn that catching wild fish to feed farmed fish is an unsustainable practice that contributes to overfishing and will further deplete fish populations.
“There are many people who consider aqua-cultured fish or farmed fish as a sustainable solution to the global fishing crisis. But on the contrary this will not solve the problems of overfishing of our sea resources. Instead it is actually making the problems worse,” the Marine Biologist said.
At a recent Green Peace meeting held in Dakar Senegal, the call was made for West African Governments to phase out fishmeal factories in their countries because they fear that the locals in these countries will someday have no food on their table.
Mauritania is said to have the highest fishmeal plants located in that sub-Saharan African country with 39 operational plants, followed by Senegal with four and three in the Gambia; that these three named countries share the same coastline and fish in the same waters.
A fisherman at the Gunjur fish landing site said he has been fishing in the country for the past thirty years but has never experience the rapid depletion of fish stocks as it is happening now. According to him, they used to fish and get good catches close to the shores of the Gambia during the recent past, but will have to go very far and spend days nowadays to get a good catch.
‘‘Fish is reducing and unless God help us, we will not be able to catch fish in the long run,” he said; that the demand of fish and fish products is more than the supply.
Another fisherman from Senegal said he has lived in the Gambia for the past six years; that they are not happy with the presence of fishmeal factories; that they have hijacked everything that is coming from the sea; that the amount they buy for a basket of fish now is D315 which is not good for them.
“Fish is decreasing because most of the fish caught presently are juvenile and not mature enough to catch,’’ he said; that it has been three months that they cannot have a normal catch; that before they used to record 120 cases of fish but only get 20 cases now because of the demand.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources in partnership with the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently wrote to the Community Fisheries Management Committee that the Ministry together with FAO and Fridtj of Nansen, will conduct acoustic survey at sea to determine the stock levels or biomass of pelagic resources of the country, the main raw material used by fish meal plants. This is the same resource that small scale fishery operators also depend on.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries Dr. Bamba Banja said they want to know the stock levels before the country can accommodate new fishmeal factories. He however said that present fishmeal factories will continue to operate; that the survey is meant to get information if new fishmeal plants can be established.
‘‘We know the stock levels of the country. That is why we were able to allow only three fishmeal plants to operate,’’ he said. He however said that in his thirty years of service, some stock levels are declining for some species. “For pelagic like sardinella and bonga, we have countable numbers of these species,” he said.
The issue of Fishmeal factories has created lots of confrontation among coastal communities and officials of these factories. Even Lawmakers now question the establishment of fishmeal factories and the benefits they have for the country and her economy.
|3 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 01 Nov 2019 : 10:26:04
Well ACTION has been taken and the results of that action is a new revenue stream by way of fines on those vessles who TRY to fish withour proper documentation.
By Mustapha Jallow October 31, 2019
Dr. Bamba A.M Banja, the Permanent Secretary at the department of Fisheries has told Foroyaa that over 20 foreign fishing vessels were intercepted this year.
He made this statement during an interview with this reporter at his office in Banjull, barely weeks after the interception of 3 vessels owned by Qunlong Fishing Enterprise.
“2019 is not completed yet but, over twenty fishing vessels were intercepted for fishing in the wrong zone – for lack of adequate proper documentations,’’ he remarked.
According to Banja, intercepted vessels are placed under the custody of the Navy until they pay the fine imposed on them, adding that once payment are made at the Central Bank by the defaulter, receipts of the payment are delivered to Fisheries department.
He continued, “They bring the receipts to us. We make copies of the receipts and we write to the Navy instructing them to release the boats.”
He said the letter to the Navy is copied to other institutions in the country.
He added, “Whatever we do, we try to be transparent because it is important. If the fine is paid, the vessel is allowed to resume operation.
He added that boats that frequently flout the laws of the Gambia are blacklisted and denied license to operate in the country’s waters.
He remarked: “All fishing vessels must fish responsibly and comply with the laws of the country, because we are watching them like hooks.”
He added, “We have reinforced our monitoring and surveillance activities. We are working with Sea Shepherded.”
||Posted - 31 Oct 2019 : 15:13:06
Foroyaa Editorial October 31, 2019
"There are claims that fish meals are having devastating effect on our fish stock. The government therefore has special responsibility in getting experts to study the claims and inform the government and the public whether those claims are valid or not.
Unfortunately political association has become more important than social associations aimed at protecting the interest of the vast majority of Gambians. "
||Posted - 28 Oct 2019 : 09:48:31
By Mustapha Jallow / Makutu Manneh October 25, 2019
Greenpeace, a non-governmental environment organization on Wednesday October 23rd 2019 launched its report on the exportation of fishmeal and fish oil in West Africa by foreign investors.
During the event held at a local hotel in Kololi, a Greenpeace official called on West African states to take immediate steps to stop the threat to sub-regional fish stocks for the security and livelihood of their people.
According to the Official, the fish stocks on which these coastal countries of the sub-region depend on is being diverted for local consumption to factories where it is turned into fishmeal and oils for export to foreign countries.
The group raised strong concerns about the expanding fishmeal industries in Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia.
“All three species of fish used for FMFO are essential for food security and they are being over-exploited. Rather than feed the local people, West Africa’s fish stocks is increasingly nourishing the fish firms of other countries,’’ the official said.
Mustapha Manneh, the Greenpeace consultant in the Gambia explained how fishmeal industries came into being in 2015; that the industry started with Golden Lead in Gunjur which has not operated during the former Government and returned to China. According to Manneh, the Golden Lead family came back to Gambia following the change of Government in 2016; that another fish meal factory owned by a Chinese and counterparts in Mauritania was built in Kartong but started operating in 2017; that the Nessim fishmeal factory also owned by a Mauritanian but operated entirely by the Chinese, was built in 2017 but started operation in 2018 in Sanyang village.
“We want to bring to the attention of Gambians, the environmental issues affecting the country because we tend to realize that these fish meal factories are badly polluting the environment. You will not know how bad the smell is around the vicinity of these factories until you visit the area. The toxic waste they produce from their factories is a bad smell that everyone inhales in Sanyang and Kartong. The pollution has brought community members together to stand against the factories,’’ he explained.
The Greenpeace consultant continued that it is not only the bad smell that the community face, but how these fish meal factories treat their waste.
Manneh however said there was a requirement put in place by the Gambia Government that every fish meal investor should have a treatment plant and should be able to conduct an impact assessment for these communities; but that none of these communities were lucky enough to lay their hands on this social assessment.
“It would be a disaster if Government did not conduct their assessment to know the impact that the fishmeal factories have on these communities. It is a real concern to us, because we believe that the environment that we live in should be clean and friendly as well,’’ he said; that division erupted in these communities as a result of the activities of these fishmeal factories polluting their environment. He pointed out that these fish meal factories buy fish at low prices than the local people.
“When a basket of fish costs D300 for the local people, the fish meal factories would buy it at D200 and the price will definitely reflect on the market. If the prices are expensive, then the poor would not be able to afford it. The issue of the level of poverty in the Gambia is high because fishmeal factories are taking all stocks that belong to local people to feed their pigs, chicken and other farm animals,’’ he said; adding that most of the fishmeal factories sell the fish caught in Gambian waters at high prices to Gambians.
In his opening remarks, Bakary Coulibaly, the Communications Officer at Greenpeace said the international body was established in 1971 with the aim of tackling pollution and against the exploitation of fishmeal industries in West Africa.
Momodou Semega Janneh, an environmental activist said it is irresponsible for Government departments to be involved in allowing the fishmeal factories to operate in communities; that they do not only disturb villagers but also affect the country’s tourism.
Dr. Alieu Bah, Greenpeace’s political adviser said fishmeal factories pollute the environment of some of West African countries because the factories operate close to residential areas. “People depend mostly on fish especially the people,” he said.
Abdou Kunta Fofana, a fisherman from Sanyang said Government should stop the operation of fishmeal factories: that from their observations, the smell causes sickness among the people.
“The trawlers are also killing the small fish,” Fofana said; that as at now the lives of communities are at risk because of the bad smell they inhale every day.
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