EU-Gambia SFPA in Numbers, Is it really Sustainable?

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By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT

The raw facts on the EU-Gambia “Sustainable” Fishing Partnership Agreement (SFPA) do not make good reading for Gambia’s local fishing industry and Gambians at large. Instead of Gambia’s Fisheries Ministry agreeing on a deal to bring home €33,381,000 over six years at today’s EU market price they have agreed to bring home a paltry €5,400,000 in the same period. A sixth of the today’s market price.

  • One ton of Tuna at October’s EU market price is €1,270. If the Gambia Government (GG) sold 3,300 tons of Tuna at this price we would make €4,191,000.
  • Likewise, one ton of Hake at October’s EU market price is €1,830. If the GG sold only 750 tons of Hake at this price we would make €1,372,500.
  • That’s a total of €5,563,500 for 4,050 tons of fish (Tuna and Hake) every year. Instead, the GG has agreed to allow EU vessels to fish the same amount for a paltry €900,000 yearly.

EU-Gambia SFPA vs EU Market Prices

  • Whose interest does the Gambia Fisheries Ministry serve?
  • How can the National Assembly ratify such a deal in the People’s House?

The Gambia it is time we do some serious soul searching as to the direction we are heading. We have a small coastline which we need to protect and commercialise strategically. Without considering the ecological and economic impact on the environment and the local fishing industry why can we not do this ourselves? Instead of the GG taking a loan to empower the local fishing industry we are busy taking loans for NAWEC, Gamtel and other white elephant projects.

On a personal level, I am against taking loans as I know that the wrong loan can plunge us further into debt stress, however, I strongly believe that the right loan can rise the Gambia out of the ashes of unsustainable debt. It makes sense for the Gambia to take loans and sell fish at these prices than for us to continue allowing all and sundry to fish in our waters while we continue to take loans for white elephant projects.

This EU-Gambia SFPA is far from Sustainable and will be the final blow to The Gambia’s already pillaged and limited fishing stock. The Chinese are currently dominating the fishing industry with their environmentally unconscientious fish-meal factories. The Senegalese have also compounded the issue as Gambia’s low capacity fishing vessels and fishermen cannot fish in Senegal’s aggressive fishing industry.

Now we have decided to invite the Europeans who are very much aware of our fragile fishing industry to add insult to injury they dare to call this damning agreement “SUSTAINABLE”. As I write this I am bewildered at how we have arrived at this unbelievable predicament. We clearly lack self-belief and the guts to dare to do it like Nike. A sad, sad predicament.

Source data for the calculations are available from the European Price Report published in October 2018. Link to the document can be accessed at the link >> http://www.fao.org/3/CA2502EN/ca2502en.pdf

Tuna prices are available on page 3 and Hake prices are available on page 8.

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