Unlocking the potential
of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

Supporting Gambian oyster sector to stimulate growth and rural development

Global fisheries and aquaculture development initiative FISH4ACP launched in The Gambia

10 March 2022, Banjul - FISH4ACP, a global initiative supporting fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, was launched in The Gambia today to help the West African nation unlock the potential of mangrove oyster production, and provide better food for rural communities, create jobs and stimulate economic growth.  

“FISH4ACP’s objectives are very much in line with our National Development Plan’s focus on improved fisheries and aquaculture value chains,” said James Furmos Gomez, Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, at an event to mark the start of FISH4ACP’s activities in The Gambia. “FISH4ACP will give attention to small and medium-sized businesses, because of their potential to deliver economic and social benefits, particularly for women and youths.”

Annual production of mangrove oyster is estimated at 1 720 tonnes, he told an audience of 50 stakeholders and experts involved in Gambia’s oyster sector present at the event, and added that some 1 000 people are employed in mangrove oyster harvesting, the majority of which are women.  

The mangrove oyster is a commercially important mollusk harvested from the mangroves along the West African coast. The main production area in The Gambia is the Tanbi Wetlands National Park at the mouth of the Gambia River. Gambian oysters mainly serve local markets, while the lack of a national shellfish sanitation programme hampers access to international markets. 

“We support efforts to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the mangrove oyster sector,” said Stephane Meert, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to the Gambia, adding that: “FISH4ACP will ensure that economic improvements go hand in hand with environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness.” 

The programme will start its activities with a comprehensive analysis of the mangrove oyster value chain, based on which priority action for the years to come will be determined in consultation with stakeholders from the sector.  

“FISH4ACP is championing an innovative approach to value chain development,” said Moshibudi Rampedi, FAO Representative in The Gambia, adding: “It will enable us to tackle the major challenges to a more sustainable oyster sector and improve it with all the parties involved.”  

FISH4ACP will work to increase the production of small-scale producers and strengthen the role of women and youth, Ms Rampedi explained. She added that oyster culture could be among the priority areas, as it offers great opportunities for growth.  

The project would promote the development of oyster aquaculture and the optimal utilization of by-products. Another important area of work could be the regulatory framework for food safety and make the sector more environmentally sustainable.  

FISH4ACP is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) aimed at making fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific more sustainable. FISH4ACP is implemented by FAO and partners with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).