The exploitation of small pelagics fish in Gambia: what valorization policies?

Elhadj Deme, Moustapha Deme, Momodou Sidibeh, Pierre Failler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this article is to present a reflection on the valorisation of small pelagic in the Gambia from a mapping of the sector integrating landings, imports and exports, and local market supply. This mapping made it possible to determine the contribution of small pelagic to national food security, job creation, and finally the country's trade surplus in fishery products. Thus, the method consisted in building a database (production - consumption and foreign trade) over a height-year series (2013 - 2020) of the three most landed pelagic species (Bonga, the round and flat sardinella). These data were obtained from fishing statistics provided by The Gambia Fisheries Department - GFD. In terms of production, 85% of the stocks of small pelagic are landed fresh by artisanal canoes, and the remaining 15% come from the coastal and industrial fleet with almost non-existent imports. In addition, small pelagic are mainly marketed in the State (80% whole fresh and whole frozen), or in various stabilized forms (20% smoking and artisanal drying). The consumption of small pelagic per capita has fluctuated over the period 2009 - 2018 with an average of 14 kg / inhabitant / year and national disparities between urban and rural areas are noted. Economically, small pelagic dominate and contribute significantly to The Gambia's trade surplus in fishery products. In addition, the study highlights the lack of valorisation of small pelagic in the Gambia linked to several constraints and the emergence of new uses including processing into fishmeal which threatens national food security and the livelihoods of thousands of people (Gambians and foreigners). Public policies must be geared towards better valorisation of small pelagic to further boost the sector's contribution to the national economy, to the correct supply of the local market, and finally to the development of players in the fishing sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-305
JournalInternational Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2021


  • value chain
  • fish
  • food safety
  • fishmeal
  • unsanitary


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