Help us protect Gambian communities from the impact of overfishing

The activities of all fishing actors, including foreign industrial vessels and the fishmeal factory, threaten the economic and social rights of local communities in Sanyang in Gambia. Act now to help protect their rights.

What’s the problem?

Artisanal fishermen face economic losses due to their fishnets being cut by foreign boats illegally operating near the shore. These industrial vessels deplete water resources and force artisanal fishermen to venture further into the sea. Artisanal fish processors and traders also suffer from fish scarcity and rising costs. Fishmeal factories compete with them directly, impacting their livelihoods. The reduction in marine resources due to overfishing contributes to increase local people’s risk of food insecurity. Local restaurant owners, lodges, and juice bars also struggle with fish scarcity, rising prices, and the noxious smell emanating from the fishmeal factory, leading to a decline in their businesses.

The price of bonga fish in Gambia has also significantly increased since the arrival of fishmeal factories. Fish smokers who specialize in bonga and sardinella face tough competition, as these species are heavily captured by canoes working with fishmeal factories and industrial vessels which export them.

Adja, a widow in her forties, said she had begun smoking fish following her husband’s death in order to support herself and her five children, aged between 10 and seven months. But the work is hard and the income precarious. Adja smokes mainly bonga and sardinella fish, but massive fishing by the fishmeal factory canoes and foreign trawlers means fish are becoming scarcer and more expensive – and that means her profit is both unstable and shrinking. There are weeks when she manages to earn 300 dalasi (around 5 euros) but some weeks, after paying for the wood and fish and the rent on the smoking place, she is left with barely anything to take home.

What you can do to help

This overfishing is not sustainable – both in terms of the overall health of the oceans and the suffering of human population. Call on the Gambian authorities today to protect Gambian communities and preserve Gambian seas. Send an email to the President of Gambia to urge him to act now.