By Rohey Jadama
Fishers at the Kartong fish landing site along the Atlantic coast have raised many concerns regarding their work, including the destruction of their fishing nets which is causing them great economic lost.
Speaking to this reporter on the issue, Alagie Secka, a fisher, complained that every time he spreads his fishing net at night he would find it destroyed. This, he said, is both frustrating and traumatising as fishing nets are very expensive.
He also complained about the frequent increment of t fuel price which, he said, hits hard on his work and earnings. “I buy 10 litres of diesel per expedition,” he revealed.
He said sometimes they have a good catch, but at other times they come with small quantity of fish which cannot cover their expenses on fuel, food, etc. “I normally catch fish varieties like catfish, ”sompat, ”futaa”, Nguuka, etc’,” he said.
Another fisher, Mr. Ebou Ceesay, confirmed that the destruction of fishing nets is a matter of concern to them as this happens all the time. He said the matter has been reported to the Fisheries officer at the site.
He said the fish he catches are such varieties like Ladyfish, Butterfish, Shoal fish, Lobsters and Calamareh (Octopus) which he sells to a sea food company and “Bana Bana” or middle persons who would resell at the markets. “We sell whatever that is left to the women who dry or smoke the fish that is transported and sold at such places like Farafenni, Brikama, etc.
The fishers appeal for assistance with fishing nets and outboard engines to facilitate their work and to increase their catch and earnings.
The concerns of women who prepare smoked and dried fish were raised by Jainaba Badjie. She explained that they usually get insufficient fish to smoke or dry. “There are many women here who are willing to work but because of the limited fishing boats, we don’t have adequate fish to prepare for smoking and drying,” she said.
“We normally come here but we don’t find enough fish to smoke which is not good for us as we are breadwinners who help in feeding and paying the school bills of our children and as you know schools will re-open very soon,” complained Madam Badjie.
Madam Badjie also complained about the poor working conditions as they do not have good smoking houses and sheds to prevent the rain water disrupting their work. “You can see for yourself the old and destroyed corrugated iron sheets which cannot stop the rain water from entering this shed. We need help to build proper smoke and drying houses for the fish we process,” she appealed.
Isatou Badjan, the Fisheries officer attached to the site, acknowledged receiving complaints from the fishers regarding the destruction of their fishing nets during the night. She said this at a time when she is already at home and cannot do anything about it.
“When they spread their nets at night they wouldn’t know which boat cuts it and as such I cannot do anything about it since they are unable to identify to me its number,” said the Fisheries officer.
Madam Badjan stressed that the only solution to this problem is for the fishermen to stop spreading their nets at night. “I had a meeting with the fishers at the Gunjur fishing site in which I urged them to stop spreading their nets at night. Some agreed with the advice while others don’t. This is a clear manifestation that they are not united and as such it will be very difficult to stop this menace,” remarked Madam Badjan.
She called on the fishers to cooperate in order to address their common concerns.
Madam Badjan said she is taking the opportunity to urge the Navy to be patrolling at night to help address this problem of destroying fishing nets.