Gambia – Deputies Order Suspension and Parliament Scrutiny of Senegal-Gambia Fishing Agreement
On Monday, the National Assembly asked that the government of The Gambia suspend the implementation of the Fisheries agreement between The Gambia and Senegal. The parliamentarians have also ordered the Fisheries Minister James Gomez to urgently present the National Assembly with the said agreement for scrutiny.
Hon Amul Nyassi, National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala, moved the motion that ordered the minister to temporarily suspend all pending implementation of the said agreement while the National Assembly thoroughly scrutinizes the arrangement.
Several members concurred that the agreements should be revisited, arguing that the ministry has caused a precarious unsustainable situation in the country’s fishing industry, including increased fish prices and fish scarcity across the country.
Saikouba Jarju, NAM for Busumbala constituency, said the agreement document should be produced as soon as possible to the National Assembly Members.
“We will look at it thoroughly to decide whether to make a stop to it or continue it in the best interest of our nation,” Hon. Jarju said.
Responding to the Deputies’ questions concerning the agreement, Minister Gomez informed the NAMs that this fishing agreement is not a new thing between The Gambia and Senegal. “This has been going on since the first and second Republic between the two countries. It’s just a continuation.”
The minister, however, admits that the fishing agreement was illegal in that it was never brought before the parliament for scrutiny. He apologized to the NAMs and urged them to involve the ministry of Justice in the agreement’s legality as he is not a Lawyer. James Gomez added that when the deal was sealed with Senegal in early April 2017, The Gambia had no parliament sitting as it braced for a new legislature.
The Gambia’s fishing agreements with Senegal and the European Union allow fleets of foreign industrial fishing boats to fish in Gambian waters. The Gambia Government in 2019 signed a 6-year fisheries agreement with the European Union which allows EU vessels from Spain, Greece, and France to fish 3300 tons of tuna in Gambian waters yearly, with a financial compensation of € 550 000 per year.
According to the deal, half of this yearly contribution, about €275 000, will strengthen the management of fisheries resources and the development of the Gambian fishing sector.
In 2017, similar fisheries and aquaculture agreements were signed between The Gambia and neighboring Senegal to “boost the Gambian fishing industry and capacity.”
The Gambia and Senegal bilateral fisheries and aquaculture agreement is aimed at strengthening both countries’ fishing industries.