Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Analysis of the impacts of migrants fishing in West Africa
Analysis of the impacts of migrant fishing of small pelagics in the Gambia
Migrant fishers dominate the most productive sites of The Gambia’s fishing regions including the Atlantic stratum. This study focused on major small pelagic fish landing sites to collect information on the fishing behaviour of migrant fishers at six coastal communities. Among the participants surveyed Senegalese national constitutes more than 95% of migrant fishers. Senegalese migrant fishers are in three categories: The first category is the permanent settlers, and the destination of their catch is the local market. The second are those who live in the Gambia temporarily and go to Senegal occasionally with export-oriented fishing operations. The last category lives in Senegal and supply small pelagic industrial processing plants including local markets. The Guinean are relatively new in the direct capture of the wild pelagic stock. However, Guineans have operated in the buying and processing for export since the early 80s. The Malians and Ghanaians are mainly engaging in the demersal fishery. The main catch landed on the Atlantic coast included Bonga shad, the sardinellas, and Mackerel in the following proportions 34%, 27% 20%, and 19% respectively. Fish trading, tribal connections in the Community Fisheries Centers, including regulatory weak spots and poor enforcement of gear and license conditions, were also found to be important determinants of access by migrant fishers. Small pelagic catch represented 62 percent of total Small pelagic fish production (37,000 tones) in 2018, from the total of 37,000 tonnes, 14,200 tonnes (38.4%) is taken as raw materials for the fishmeal processing plants. 20,500 tonnes are exported to regional markets-leaving on average 4% (1,300 tonnes) for domestic consumption. Migrant fishers play a key role in ensuring food and nutrition security, job creation, and foreign exchange earnings. Ironically, the fisheries management tools did not cover migrant fishers’ issues making their contribution unnoticed in the destination country.
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