By Kebba AF Touray
The Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Mr James Furmos Peter Gomez, said the Lavar Fishing Trawler anchored at the Banjul Terminal belongs to his Ministry and by extension the Government of The Republic of The Gambia.
He stated this on Monday 10th December 2018 at the National Assembly, while responding to a question asked by Member for Lower Saloum, Sainey Jawara.
“The trawler was donated through bilateral cooperation by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2008. The Fishing Trawler had a gross registered tonnage of 199 and a net tonnage of 97 metric tons with registered number 17473. The certificate of registration revealed that the Fishing Trawler was constructed in 1977 with a MAN model engine of 850HP”, he added.
He also said that the trawler had technical problems such as overheating of the engine and was not functional, as such it had to be anchored at the Port Terminal for 10 years under the Security of The Gambia Navy upon request from the Fisheries Ministry.
He informed the Assembly that following consultations with the Gambia Maritime Administration, Gambia Ports Authority and others, it was agreed that the position where the trawler is anchored poses safety threats to other merchant vessels.
He said based on expert advice, the Fisheries Ministry wrote to the Auction Taskforce Committee through the Finance Ministry and requested for the disposal of the Fishing Trawler.
“Four bidders applied and it was awarded to the highest bidder who agreed to pay D1,250,000 “, he added.
Hon Jawara also asked for the reason for the dysfunctional state of Vision 2020 Fishing Boat and the Ministry’s plan to engage Gambian Youth into the sector. Minister Gomez responded that there were no Vision 2020 boat, but 6 vision 2016 boats previously under the custody of one Rambo Jatta of Bakau, one of which was reported to have been dismantled due to deformation. He said the inventory identified 5 boats, two at Tanji (2), two at Gunjur (2) and Kartong (1)boat .
“All these boats were found unserviceable and unseaworthy due to a range of defects, from delaying woodwork to gaping gaps between planks. Hence the boats are inoperative in their present state”, he noted.
On the causes of delay in the rehabilitation of Bakau Community Fishing Center, raised by the Member for Bakau Assan Touray, Gomez explicated that the said rehabilitation couldn’t materialize due to the insufficient funds at the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program and also due to the effects of Climate Change, including coastal erosion. The World Bank is not convinced to intervene and rehabilitate the Center.