The Chronicle Gambia

Bar Owners Call for Closure of Fishmeal Factory in Sanyang

Several bar owners in the coastal settlement of Sanyang has called for the immediate closure of Nassim Fishmeal factory that is located on the beach, as the odor which is being emitted by the factory poses threat to health thus creating a serious impact on their gains as well as the nearby local dwellers.  

Sanyang is in Kombo South and its ‘Paradise beach’ as the area is called, is within the tourism development area, attracting a good number of tourists annually. But with the continuous occupation of fishmeal factories around the area, including Tanji and Gunjur, beach users fear that tourism business could collapse.

“We have been struggling with a very bad odor coming from the Nassim Fishmeal Factory for all these past three seasons, but recently it has gotten to a level that it has started scaring our guests away, making us to lose a good return during this time of the year,” said Lamin Jawla, Manager Rainbow Beach Bar.

Lamin Jawla

He told The Chronicle that the situation is very unfortunate because they’re losing customers due to the unbearable emission and bad odor. 

“We have reported this matter to the relevant authorities, but still nothing is done about it. However, we want to appeal to the tourism authorities and the government of President Adama Barrow to intervene on our behalf to remedy this awful situation we are currently enduring.” 

Jawla disclosed that 34 guests had already signed out from his Rainbow Beach Bar and they have now moved to southern Senegalese Resorts of Abenneh and Kafunting. 

Irene Naert, a French national and her husband Muhammed Lamin Manneh are the owners of River By The Sea Beach Bar. They also raised concerns regarding the odour emanating from the fishmeal factory, adding that waste that is being discharged from the factory into the ocean also makes it impossible for tourists to swim largely due to the pollution of the ocean waters.

Irene Naert

“We are definitely concerned about the level of pollution that is taking place here (Sanyang Beach) because this is the place where we are investing our capitals in order to create opportunities for the youths and vulnerable and as well make living,” she said. 

Naert and her Gambian husband are now contemplating as to whether they should move on with their development plan or not because in the long run, no operator will be able to bring tourists to this beach if the situation is left unaddressed. 

A tourist-taxi driver, Ousainou Badjie told The Chronicle that over 500 youths from Sanyang are directly earning their livelihoods from the tourism industry, adding that the collapse of tourism in Sanyang will put a lot of livelihood in danger.

Ousainou Badjie

“We [the Sanyang youth] have been accused of being thieves, criminals and all other names when we used to seat at ‘Strasser’ [ghetto]. We left the Strasser and decided to come to the beach and make our living, they (authorities) want to deprive us of that too; it will never be possible.” 

“What I want to tell the government is that it is better they close Nassim, because if all the youths who survive on tourism are asked to go home what will be the next consequences?” he asked. 

Since 2017, when the current government took over, there have been a lot of scuffles between companies and residents of the coastal communities. Some of the conflicts such as the Chinese company, Golden Lead ended up in court with people of Gunjur before the matter was withdrawn. The police also arrested and charged the protesters for allegedly damaging some Golden Lead pipes.

Dead fish washed ashore on the Sanyang beach

Experts and the National Environment Agency have all expressed concerns on the conduct of these factories but the authorities are seemingly not interested.  

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  1. Lamin Jammeh says

    This is catastrophic and unbearable, the ministry of tourism and calture should not allow this to happen in the TDA areas. The fish meal factories in the west coast region are detrement to people and their livelihoods

  2. Günther Petersen says

    Thanks for a good and very much needed report Mr. Kebba Ansu Manneh.
    In your report you have concentrated about the impact the Chinese fishmeal factory have on the tourism. The odour from the factories getting people stay away from the nicest beach you have in The Gambia. But we should not forget all the people living there all year round who have to live in this stinking air. Its not only the smell of rotten fish, which is a problem. The factories are also discharging their waste into the ocean very close to the beach. The waste does also contain chemicals which is harmful to the environment and the people because it can not be avoided that the fish will contain poison and will be a health problem for the community. Furthermore an intensive overfishing is taken place. You can see in one of your pictures attached to your report where fish is laying in the thousand on the beach. I have been following this development since they build the factory in Gunjur and Sanyang. It’s just getting worse. In this January you could see thousands and thousands of dead fish on the beach on a distance of 5 kilometres. Women coming from the village of Sanyang are now complaining that the fish prices going up and up. Scarcity of fish at Gunjur has been reported. This is at least as alarming as the bad odour. Fish is protein for the people. The fishermen who feeds the factories with fish are using very fine masked nets catching everything. The government with the fishery minister James Gomez and the minister of tourism showing no interest at all. They may have their reasons. Beside this I have the feeling that not many people in The Gambia are aware of this big threat to their country. That’s why it is so important that you report of this happenings. And I hope you continuously will follow up on this important issue. Look up on the Facebook site “Sanyang Village Online” and you will see more.

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