Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Golden Lead fish meal company clears the air

Golden Lead fish meal processing company in Gunjur comes out in public through this press release amidst unprecedented criticisms on the social media on deteriorating environmental management pointed to the company and the corresponding visits and inspections from different government institutions.

With this press release, we also represent the fish meal industry which is in its infancy stage in the Gambia.

We deem it necessary to clarify the issues and assure the public of our strong commitment to the development of The Gambia and protection of its natural resources on which our sustainability depends as a business.

The social media created doubts on the legitimacy of our business. We assure you that Golden Lead is a Gambian company as we are established only in the Gambia. We came into being through a legitimate process that begun from the investment promotion efforts of the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), it is through this process that we have legitimately acquired licenses to operate from the Ministry of Fisheries, National Environment Agency, Food Safety and Quality Authority and the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration, Industry, and Employment. The process we went through in this country ultimately enabled us to acquire the Export Processing Zone License to operate and export.

State of Gambia fishing industry and the role of Chinese company

By Lamin JS Fatajo

This article is aimed to contribute to the ongoing concerns of Gambian about over exploitation of our national resources notably the fisheries resources. On the contrary, this is not in any way suggesting that we should not rise up to stop unlawful acts detrimental to our coastline communities and the nation as a whole nor is it in defence of any Chinese company purportedly responsible for destruction of the natural resources.

Rather it’s to present analysis of national data on fisheries and fish resources as well as synopsis of interviews conducted with some community members of Gunjur and Golden Lead Import & Export Company Ltd factory workers. 

The Gambia artisanal sector creates employment for an estimated 200,000 Gambians, 70 % of which depends on the small pelagic species for livelihood. The small pelagic species for which data is available include Sardinella Aurita - Yaboy Maroc, Sardinella Maderensis-Yaboy Tass, Ethmalosa Fimbriata- Kobo comprising the sardinella species;  Decapterus spp, Scomber japonicas and Trachurus trecae. The total production of this species was estimated at 45,294mt in 2016 with sardinella species accounting for 88%.

Fish by nature are migratory, small pelagic fish and other fish within the Gambian waters traverse from Moroccan waters in the north to Congolese waters in the south. Fish surveys have revealed that small pelagic resources are concentrated in the waters of the North coastal countries (Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal) in the Months of May, June and July and migrating to the south (The Gambia and Southern Senegal) in July, August and September) and further south in September and October. Therefore catches from Senegal is higher than that of The Gambia. 

To what extend has the Gambian small pelagic fish resources been exploited?

The potential pelagic fish stock in The Gambian waters ranged from a low of 101,000 to a high of 510,000mt from 1992-2011, averaging about 191,000. Catches/supply of small pelagic on the other hand; ranged from 3,240mt to 45,294mt from 1981 to 2016 with an averaged production 19, 000mt indicating an unexploited potential of about 172,000mt.

Therefore licensing of fish processing factory to that stimulate demand for small pelagic species is an option to maximize the benefits of our fish resources for poverty alleviation and fisheries sector development.  Per capita fish consumption is estimated at 25kg per person alone coastal areas and 9kg for inland communities averaging 17kg per capita per person nationally giving rise to a domestic demand for fish at 32,432mt (72% of supply)in 2016.

This scenario is changed with registration of Golden Lead Import and Export Company to process Sardinella species with an annual average demand of about 108,000mt from 2015 onwards, pushing the total demand (domestic and industrial) for small pelagic fish close the carrying capacity of 191,000mt per annum. This clearly shows that Golden Lead has to outsource some 88% of their processing demand from the sub region to operate at optimal level.