China has resolved to invest in the fisheries sector of the Gambia despite growing protest against a Chinese-backed fishmeal plant.
Ma Jian Chun, the Chinese Ambassador in the Gambia had a meeting with Gambian Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources James Peter Gomez on the issue last week.
He said that China wants to direct further investment into Gambia’s fishery and agriculture sector.
The minister said China’s fishery investments have brought jobs and helped the economic development, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
The statement made no mention of the protests by residents in the Gambian fishing village of Gunjur, who are upset about alleged pollution and overfishing by Chinese fishmeal factories – among them firms like Golden Lead, which has drawn anger for waste discharges into the ocean along a section of coast that is a popular tourist destination.
The meeting between Chinese and Gambian officials occurred as African agriculture and fisheries ministers met in the central Chinese city of Changsha for the China Africa Economic Development Summit, which featured discussions on Chinese investment in Africa and export of African commodities into China.
China recently donated 2,734 metric tons of parboiled rice to Gambia and the country is adding a new patrol boat to its waters this year, drawing on funding from international donors to increase surveillance, the fishery minister announced recently.