A five-day sub-regional training seminar on artisanal fisheries, hosted by the Department of Fisheries of The Gambia, commenced on Monday at the NaNA conference hall.
Organised by the Dakar-based West African Development of Artisanal Fisheries (WADAF), the forum was designed to strengthen the technical and political skills of artisanal fisheries professionals.
The seminar, attended by participants from Sierra Leone and The Gambia, is expected to improve the artisanal sea products processing techniques and conditions.
Speaking on the occasion, Matarr Bah, director of fisheries, said the objectives of the training seminar are in line with the fisheries policies of the Sub-regional Fisheries Commission.
He pointed out that capacity development is key for the effective conservation, management and development of the fisheries sector.
“Without the required capacities, artisanal fisheries operators cannot or it will be difficult and challenging to influence government policies,” Mr Bah said.
“This training will add impetus at all levels, as participants get new and more effective way to approach sustainable fisheries management.”
WADAF Executive Secretary Musa Mbengue, in his remarks, said training of fisheries stakeholders is a precondition for their effective participation in public fisheries policies.
In West Africa, the fisheries sector, in general, and the artisanal fisheries, in particular, play a crucial role in the socio-cultural, economic and environmental functions.
It is in view of this, Mr Mbengue said, that the governments of the sub-region and development partners embarked on supporting and creating conditions for a more active participation of fisheries actors and stakeholders.
“Even though some significant progresses have been made, the professionals of artisanal fisheries still express significant training needs to strengthen their capacity to participate in the policies and the sustainable development of the activities that are central to their lives.”
This is why the ongoing training seminar is designed to take care of certain capacity needs of the artisanal fisheries stakeholders, he added.