ENVIRONMENT: Promoting Fish Meal Production At The Expense Of Future Environmental And Ecological Im
The Gambia, like many other developing countries in West Africa, is faced with socio-economic and institutional challenges which deter local conservation and governance of coastal and marine resources. The country's coastal and marine resources are faced with over-harvesting of fisheries resources, habitat destruction for economic development and unsustainable commercialization of marine resources for growth. In addition to the stated issues, protection measures by local communities are confronted with weak management and governance approaches of the coastal zone.
Places experiencing this management issues are Gunjur and Kartong villages. These local communities situated along the coastline are experiencing unregulated fishing activities along the coastline of the Gambia also result in entanglement of marine turtles into fishing nets, pollution of a local wildlife conservation reserve, while commercial sand mining narrow down the land area used by indigenous people for rice cultivation and vegetable gardening in Gunjur and Kartong villages of The Gambia.
Assessing and examining the overall situation of coastal and marine resources conservation from the science-policy point of view, there has been weak conservation actions and efforts, limited monitoring and surveillance of the southern coastline, and absence of baseline data on stock assessment of local consumption of marine and coastal resources.
Thus, in an effort to achieve a maintained marine ecosystem in The Gambia, the government in line with local communities and support organizations must effectively address challenges facing the coastline which affects the ecology of the coastal area and marine ecosystem. In doing so, the governance system of resource conservation needs to be improved, and this cannot be accomplished without an all-inclusive participatory involvement of government organizations, non-governmental organizations, and civil society in protecting Gambia's marine resources with collective interest. This joint participation of organizations has to evolve through cross-scale and multilevel information sharing, networking activities, and as well as cultivating investment activities so as to support the collaborative governance and management of marine resources were local's long-term interest shall be great interest in any investment project.
In recent years, local resource users in The Gambia perceive fisheries resources has God's given source of food to mankind and that there should be no limit in harvesting the resource unit. Thus, this cultural perception needs to be addressed on the basis of effective management account on social, economic and environmental contexts for the sustainability of local resources and that all these needs to echo around the fact that conservation priorities go beyond the myopic lens of job creation for locals.
It's crystal clear that concern citizens of any nation are crucial players in contributing to the sustainability of the marine resources, which may include but not limited to self-organization and collective action of monitoring of the coastline, addressing the issue of over-fishing as manifested in Gunjur and Kartong villages over a couple of months. The government of the Gambia and its Sub-regional countries may establish a regional intra-marine management policy dialogue and marine research center at which government officials and local conservation volunteers can be informed and trained about issues confronting our coastlines.
In addition, the longstanding state-centric approach of resource administration and management in The Gambia should be changed with a new approach, in which communities shall be empowered to effectively participate in national development endeavors through 1) investment opportunities for locals to operate eco-friendly businesses, 2) create a public awareness platform for locals to address socioeconomic, environment and ecological issues, and 3) fostering of trust through information sharing from authentic local perspective. We as concern citizens and residents of Gunjur and Kartong villages, and as environmental activists, are here to educate, inform and enlighten the general public about our concerns inline the "BANJUL DECLARATION" with no prejudice, about the current environmental and ecological problems in Gunjur village. It is very important for everyone that remember that:
1. It is impossible to repair environmental problems without proper restoration initiatives which are longitudinal, costly, and time-consuming.
2. Exchange of views and experiences from concern citizens, activists, researchers and policy makers from different aspects about local resource use is the way forward in building a better future for all. #IstandAgaistMarinePollution #IStandforBolonfehyotoWildlifeReserve #IStandfortheSustainabilityofGunjurTurtleHatchery