A few weeks ago, I chose about twenty of my students and gave them an assignment to conduct a research on fishing in the Gambia. Their findings were amazing and indeed eyeopeners. These are just high school children who used crude methods to make enquires about fishing. However, they came out with amazing date which informed me that we need research in every sector of our development.
Mr President, my students found out that fifty-nine percent of fishermen in the Gambia are foreigners; while forty-one percent are Gambians. The reverse is however true in the rural areas where fifty-one percent of fishermen are Gambians and the rest foreigners. These figures call for urgent and concerted action to change the fortunes of Gambian workers.
Nevertheless, Mr President, this writeup is about the Chinese Fishing Companies operating in the Gambia. It is reported that over seventy Chinese Fishing trawlers work in our Gambian waters and we have no way of monitoring their activities. I mean can you even imagine! Seventy fishing trawlers! How much fish will remain in our waters after these trawlers ravage our waters for five or ten years?
Then it is said that the minister of Fisheries has ordered that ten percent of the catch should be used for local consumption. This leaves ninety percent for further export to be used outside our country. It is true that you have signed agreements with the Chinese government and that they are providing millions in aid to our country, but have we stopped to imagine the long-term effect this will have on our resources? These Chinese Companies will do away with all the fish we have in our waters and in a few years, we will not have a single fish in our waters.
As I have said in an earlier writeup, we need research to know exactly the impact this will have on our waters, our environment, our economy, our health and our future. Let us use the available resources for our country by utilizing our human capital so that everyone will benefit from it. I know of an example in Ghana where a special account is opened and anytime the country earns any amount from their oil reserves, a good percentage of it is deposited there. The reasoning is that the resources of the nation are not only for the present generation, but for the future generation of Ghanaians as well. The same thing is our condition.
These fish and other resource do not belong to our generation alone; but to the future generations of Gambians. So, if we allow the Chinese and other foreign companies to take away all our fish, we will be unfair to our future which is a form of injustices.
Have a Good Day Mr President….
Tha Scribbler Bah
A Concerned Citizen