The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 28 December handed over fishing gears worth over GMD4.7m to 12 communities and the Fisheries Department at a brief ceremony held in Banjul. The Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources Pa Ousman Jarju who presided over the event received the donation on behalf of the target beneficiaries.
The assistance comprises ten fishing boats (7 fibre and 3 wooden), ten 15 horse power (15HP) out board engines, fishing nets with accessories and life jackets for 10 communities and Fish catch assessment materials for the fisheries department procured by a two-year FAO Funded Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP).The ten beneficiary communities are Banjul, Old jeshwang, Tanji, Barra, Albreda, Bintang, Tendaba, Kanikunda, Wassu and Bwiam. The communities of Bansang and Kemoto also received three fishing boats, three 15HP outboard engines, life jackets and fishing nets with accessories funded by FAO Tele-food projects.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Jarju commended FAO for the gesture and for its consistent and remarkable support to The Gambia. He explained that the assistance was demand driven and challenged the beneficiaries to put the items to good use and ensure sustenance of the intervention. Minister Jarju also told the beneficiaries that their activities will be closely monitored by the Fisheries Department for the benefit of both the present and future generations.
In a statement delivered on her behalf by her Assistant and Head of Programmes Mrs Mariatou Njie, The FAO Country Representative expressed optimism that the intervention will contribute to improved food and nutrition security, employment and wealth creation for poverty reduction and socio-economic growth and sustainable utilization of natural resources. Dr. Perpetua Katepa-Kalalahoped that the Fish catch assessment materials given to the Department of Fisheries will enhanced the reliability and effectiveness of fish catch assessmentsto improve the availability of credible data and the proper management of the fisheries resources. Shereaffirmed FAO`s continued support to The Gambia in the quest to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030.
Delivering the vote of thanks on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr. Babou Cham of Banjul Fish Landing Site lauded the government and FAO for the assistance. He called for the judicious utilization and management of the materials.
Mr. Matarr Bah, Director of Fisheries and Mr. Biram Faye, National Coordinator of the TCP for the Development of the Artisanal Fisheries in The Gambia both underscored the significance of the support. They advised the beneficiaries to strictly adhere to fisheries laws and regulations at all times.