By Emeka Umejei – Reporting from The Gambia – A five-day training for West African journalists on policy of responsible fisheries kicked-off on Wednesday, September 15, at Baobab Holiday Resort, Bijilo,The Gambia. The training is organised by the West African Journalists Network for Responsible Fishery (REJOPRAO) with the support of the Jade/Syfia Senegal press agency and the European NGO Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA). The training seeks to equip journalists in the sub-region with the requisite knowledge and capacity to report issues bothering on artisanal fisheries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Anicet Laurent Quenum, the communication officer of the Regional Coastal and Marine Conservation Programme for West Africa, stated that sustainable management of the region’s environmental resources would not be enhanced if there are no adequate knowledge. He disclosed that during the course of the training discussions will focus on the industrial fishing sector and some indiscriminate fishing practices. He noted that journalists are important actors in the dissemination of information relating to changes and development behaviour in the fisheries sector, stressing that the training will help to improve their potential. Ouenum also used the occasion to thank the participants for responding to the call and expressed hope that at the end of the training their capacities will be enhanced to play vital role in the artisanal fisheries sector. In her remark, Mamayawa Sandauno, a fisheries specialist and chief Inspector of Guinea Department of fisheries, also expressed hope that the training will improve the capacities of journalists in their daily reporting.
Corroborating Sandauno, Emil Touray, secretary general of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) acknowledged that the training will pave a way for international networking on fisheries. He observed that journalists cannot effectively report on fisheries activities if they are not efficiently and adequately informed on the international instrument. He further told the gathering that in order to promote responsible and professional fisheries, there must be a behavioral change among people. Ousman Bojang, the chairman of The Gambia Artisanal Fisheries Development Agency(GAMFIDA) described journalists as an integral entity in the fisheries sector.