The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the government of The Gambia on Friday signed a multimillion U.S. Dollar project as FAO-government cooperative programme on Supporting the Application of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management Considering Climate and Pollution Impacts (EAF-Nansen Programme).
The signing of the project was held at the conference hall of the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters.
The 80.6 million U.S. Dollar project is aimed to addressing the weaknesses in fisheries management in partner countries and identifies interventions that will create the opportunity for a long term sustainable and transformational change. The intervention is expected to contribute to improve fisheries management, poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable food security.
The five years project is a sustainable fisheries development initiative funded by the government of Norway.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters James F. Gomez, revealed that the government of Norway through NORAD and FAO have been a long standing partners in the area of acoustic survey to determine the abundance and distribution of our pelagic fisheries resources.
He added that the data and information collected from the surveys are translated into appropriate decision making both at the policy and management levels, which are crucial for the management and development of fisheries sector.
"Worldwide, fishing and its related activities provide employment and livelihoods for over 60million people, 90% of these in developing countries. Here in The Gambia, fishing and its related activities create employment and livelihood for over 200,000 people," Minister James disclosed.
He further pointed out that the marine and coastal ecosystems are very crucial in providing goods and services to the food web including fish and mammals, however, he said the marine ecosystem is been threatened due to unsustainable fishing practices, pollution from both Marine and land base resources and climate variability and change.
For her part, the FAO representative to the Gambia, Perpetua Katepa-Kalala stated that the government of the Gambia has set fisheries as one of the priority intervention sectors for food security, poverty reduction and jobs and wealth creation.
She added that the Nansen project is a 43-year-old partnership between FAO and Norway and has been working directly with developing countries to build capacity in order to improve fisheries management and conservation of natural resources. The recent phase referred to as the 'EAF-Nansen Project' has been implemented since December 2006 through the Food and Agriculture in close collaboration with Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR).
The overall project objectivity, according to Kalala, was to build on the foundations created by the previous phases of the EAF-Nansen Project and focusing on the continued implementation of the EAF with the added focus on impacts of the climate variability and change and other anthropogenic stressors.
Kalala finally said that the FAO remains committed to working closely with the Gambia government and people of the Gambia to support fisheries practices that will attain SDG goals for the growth of the sector while ensuring that fisheries resources remain healthy to support the needs and interest of the future generation.