Tuesday, June 6

Gambia launches $25 million PROREFISH Project to promote climate resilience fisheries sector –

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By: Nyima Sillah

The Government of the Gambia through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently launched a 6years PROREFISH project worth $25 million to promote climate resilience in the fisheries sector.

PROREFISH Gambia is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with co-financing and support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, and FAO.

About 168,000 vulnerable women and men dependent on the fisheries value chain will benefit directly from project activities.

Speaking at the event held at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre, Dr. Mustapha Ceesay, Assistant FAO Rep, said the project was designed to help strengthen the Gambia’s response to climate threats, noting the project will also offer a holistic, three-fold response to enhance adaptation and reduce the climate-related risks facing the country’s fisheries sector. 

Giving an overview of the project’s actions to fulfill in 2030 and the Gambia’s National Development Priorities Dr. Ceesay said “The project seeks to reduce the high exposure and vulnerability of current artisanal fisheries infrastructure and equipment to address climate change losses in the value chain.

“Supporting the development of aquaculture production to compensate for climate-induced decreases in capture fisheries and restoring degraded mangrove forests which are important breeding grounds and nurseries for many fisheries,” he explained.

He pointed out that uncertainty of climate change hazards will not spare food systems and the natural resources sector-dependent economies. 

However, he added that the Gambia is committed to safeguarding the socio-economic importance of livelihoods that depend on the fisheries and aquaculture sector. 

Fanta Bojang-Samateh, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters said fisheries contribute about 12 percent to the country’s GDP and provide direct or indirect employment for over 300,000 people. Also, the fisheries sector, therefore, has the potential to make a sustainable contribution to the socio-economic development of the Gambia.

“Fisheries contribute to economic generation, food security, and nutrition, especially in rural areas. It also creates opportunities for foreign exchange earnings to regional and international fish trade,” she added.

However, PS Bojang Samateh expressed her ministry’s commitment to the rational and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources.

Abdoulie Badjie, representing UN Resident Coordinator in the Gambia Seraphine Wakana said “At a time when food insecurity is a growing concern, ensuring the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources is vital. 

“The consumption of fish is growing at twice the rate of global population growth, an alarming reality that is not adequately reflected in our policies and priorities on food and nutrition security. 

“One solution that must seriously consider is transitioning to more sustainable and environmentally friendly policies and practices,” he added.