Who Authorized The Chinese To Fish In Mandinari?
By Saidina Alieu Jarjou.
The last time I checked the Ministry of Fisheries & Water Resources under the watch of James Gomez is responsible for overseeing the fisheries sector of the Gambia. It is said to be established to provide greater focus on this sector to enable the country to derive maximum benefit from its fish resources.
Unfortunately, the supposed mandate seems to be unrealistic as we have seen the rise of Chinese alone the river Gambia. The Gambia is one of those poor countries used as a hub for the Chinese to do their unethical activities. It is on record that the high presence of Chinese is always a threat to the environment they occupy.
Of recent Mandinari is the center for the Chinese activities including fuel refinery and the same place where they are building 2 big fishing trawlers. Before the arrival of fish-meal factories in the Gambia, the people of Mandinari and the surrounding would catch red snapper and barracuda to be sold at the various markets to earn a leaving. But unfortunately, income had begun to decline due to the presence of the Chinese.
Meanwhile, research shows stocks of round tilapia and sardinella, a species that migrates along the Atlantic coast between the Gambia and Morocco have dropped and can wreak havoc, destroy the environment, marine ecology and completely disrupt the food chain due to over-fishing by the said Chinese folks.
Our poor fishermen also compete with the Chinese who are using big fishing trawlers. Besides, it is practically impossible to compete with them. This has resulted in many fishermen to quite the fishing industry for the Chinese.
Mandinari is a tourist attraction site due to the high presence of bird spices. Some time ago there used to be a locally made bridge that fishermen and tourist use to access the waters. Unfortunately, the said bridge is nowhere to be seen as the Chinese have cut down the mangroves and replaced the bridge with gravel in a land size of over 50 meters.
Furthermore, there are many refinery companies in Mandinari in which a proper environmental impact assessment needs to be done to ascertain the fact. Many village dwellers complaint of smoke coming from the factory sites, this has made breathing difficult due to environmental pollution.