By Mammy Saidykhan

The European Union ambassador to The Gambia on Monday 10th December organized a breakfast press briefing with the media at the EU headquarters in Faraja.

The roundtable discussion was centered on the European Union’s partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources with regard to a 6-year sustainable fishing partnership agreement signed on October 19th 2018.

The deal is aimed at strengthening the management of fisheries resources and the development of the Gambian fishing sector.

The agreement covers a period of 6 years and will offer the EU vessels the possibility to fish 3300 tons of tuna and tuna-like species as well as 750 tons of hake per year in the Gambian waters.

The EU, however, will in return pay The Gambia a financial contribution of 550, 000 euros per year.

Speaking at the briefing was the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources James Furmos Peter Gomez who said that the agreement is a win-win situation as long as his ministry is concerned.

“We consider this agreement as the Ministry of Fisheries department, that this is the best agreement we ever had since we started having partnerships with EU,” he asserted.

Gomez said that for a period of 6 years, the ministry will get 5.4 million euros (approximately 302 million dalasis) to help with its institutional operations and to develop the sector.

The agreement covers the cooperation in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and promotion of the blue economy.

The European Union Ambassador to The Gambia Attila Lajos, dwelt on the importance of the agreement to The Gambia.

“It is important that people are informed of the fact that all the Pro’s coming from this agreement which will help the sector to develop. I believe there is a long list of Pro’s coming from this agreement,” he said.

This will certainly pave the road for an even more closer partnership between The Gambia, the European Union and its member states, he added.

The new agreement will be mutually beneficial for the EU and The Gambia, with 50% of the EU contribution through this agreement earmarked for sectoral support.

This means that EU will pay annually to Gambia 275, 000 euros to develop the fishing sector and the programme will be managed, planned and decided by the Gambian government and approved by the joint committee to be held once a year between EU and Gambian authorities.

The Gambia will benefit in the following ways; support a d management measures for fisheries, aquaculture and artisanal fisheries; sanitary and quality management with the view to develop export capacities; fisheries monitoring control and surveillance and fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; the development and strengthening of scientific capacity in the field of fisheries; and measures to protect fragile ecosystem that has made a significant contribution to the health of stocks, such as the establishment and management of marine protected areas.