By Rohey Jadama and Sailu Bah
Fishermen and fishmongers at the beach in Bakau have raised concerns over the bridge used as the fish landing site which they said requires immediate maintenance
In an interview with these reporters yesterday 17th July 2014 at the Bakau beach, the fishermen said since the bridge got spoilt, they have encountered a lot of difficulties. They said the bridge is a vital medium where big fishing boats land after coming from the sea for onward distribution to fish mongers.
The fishermen said the bridge is made by the Japanese since 1993 and started to fall in 2007. They said it is almost 7 years now since the bridge is not in use which they said is a great disadvantage to them.
“When the bridge was in existence, we used to find it very easy to get access to the big boats after landing, but after the collapse of the bridge, the fishing vessels can no longer land there so they have to go all the way to Sunswing which is a far distance and time consuming,” says one of the fishermen.
Furthermore, they said the current state of the bridge is a great threat to the community especially young children who normally go to play there and sometimes sustained injuries because the bridge is built of iron and the iron has corroded.
According to the fishermen, the lack of proper storage facilities, toilets and water facilities is a grave problem to them. One of the fishermen said the only toilet in use is now full to capacity and is unhygienic to use it.
Fishmongers also explained the difficulties they face since the bridge got spoilt. They said things get more expensive for them when it comes to transporting fish.
“We use to pay less money for transporting the fish before the Bridge got damaged but now it is difficult for us. We used to trek as far as Sunswing in order to get the fish from the fishermen and we pay drivers extra money to transport the fish; sometimes when we don’t have money for transportation we carry the fish on our heads,” said one of the fishmongers.
They said the lack of storage facility is also a big problem for them since the ICE plant is no more in use and ice blocks are now expensive; that It has been increased during the Ramadan from D5 to D15.
There are recommendations made by both the fishermen and the fish mongers urging the Government and stakeholders to help them rehabilitate the ICE plant and the bridge. They also appealed to the authorities to build proper toilets and water facilities in the area. They further recommend for a vehicle with storage facilities that could help them transport their fish from other fish landing sites so as to make their business more profitable.
The village head (‘Alkalo’) of Bakau was approached to shed light on these concerns but he promised to get back to us after the Month of Ramadan.