Ahmed Manjang & Lamin Jassey attend West African-China Cooperation on Sustainable Fisheries workshop
Updated: May 12
Environmental activist duo Ahmed Manjang and Lamin Jassey have attended a workshop on “Charting a Blue Future for West African-China Cooperation on Sustainable Fisheries” at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre on the 9th of May 2023. The workshop was then followed by a field trip to the Bakoteh fish market, Golden Lead fish meal factory in Gunjur and XYZW fishmeal factory in Kartong on Wednesday,10th May.
The workshop was organised by the China Dialogue Ocean Trust in collaboration with The University of the Gambia, STIMSON Center USA, and TMT Norway, under the theme: “Charting a Blue Future for West African-China Cooperation on a Sustainable Fisheries”.
The objective of the meeting was to bring together representative from West Africa and China to develop an understanding of each other’s perspectives on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Fishmeal factory operations and global ocean issues, to identify joint policy recommendations, and to build future partnerships. A total of 15 civil society representatives from West Africa and China, and support staff attended the workshop.
The Minister of Environment and representative from the fisheries ministry were also in attendance, albeit briefly. The presence of a representative from the Fisheries ministry was very important especially for the local activists, which presented a great opportunity to hear from him about the many issues that are causing consternation among local activists and the public alike when it comes to fishing in Gambian waters.
The workshop deliberated on areas such as better regional cooperation, enforcement of local laws, which were acknowledged to be sufficient but hardly enforced. The workshop further discussed the need for harmonising local maritime and fisheries laws, as well as putting in place robust measures to fight institutional corruption. Capacity building for maritime and fisheries officials was another area discussed and agreed. Finally, an integrated approach in fighting IUU and other maritime crimes were discussed as action points.
Speaking to Gunjuronline, Ahmed Manjang said of the workshop:
"For us, this is another success story. When we started the fight about the environmental crimes of these fish meal factories, our own NAM called us saboteurs but today the rest of the world heard and understood our message and they're ready to help in any way to stop the destructive fish meal factories in West Africa. I would like to thank China Dialogue Trust for this opportunity."
On his part, Lamin Jassey who also attended the workshop offered these remarks:
"We also looked at the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem, which is a massive challenge for The Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania."
A report, including recommendations will be written and shared with key stakeholders.