Letter: The price of fishing in The Gambia

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article (19 March) "Tightening the net" had a sadly eurocentric ring to it.

On a recent visit to our link community of Gunjur, the principal fishing village in The Gambia, the impact of EU fishing agreements with The Gambia and other West African countries is there to be seen on the beach. The price that women are having to pay for a bowl of fish from the local canoes has risen from 5 to 20 delasis in the past five years. Fishermen are having to spend 12 hours at sea rather than six to fill their boats.

They are regularly confronted by European trawlers which damage and destroy their nets and they rarely get compensation.

At night one can observe the lights of trawlers evidently abusing limits and fishing within Gambian waters. Piracy from Asian countries is rampant and people in the Gambian fisheries department admit that the agreement is hardly worth the paper it is written on.

Unless we develop a strong international fishing policy with a properly funded fisheries police force we shall all suffer, but the poorest will go to the wall first.

Dr Nick Maurice

Marlborough Brandt Group

Marlborough, Wiltshire

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