List of Tables... ii List of Maps... ii List Of Acronyms... iii Working Group Members... iv COASTAL PROFILE...7

CONTENTS List of Tables .................................................................................................................................
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CONTENTS List of Tables ........................................................................................................................................... ii List of Maps ............................................................................................................................................. ii List Of Acronyms .................................................................................................................................... iii Working Group Members ....................................................................................................................... iv

Introduction....................................................................................................................................... 1 The Rationale For Integrated Coastal Area Management In The Gambia ..............................................1 Institutional Framework For Environmental Management.......................................................................2 Planning Process And Methodology .......................................................................................................3 Study Area: Southern Coastal Region ....................................................................................................4


COASTAL PROFILE .........................................................................................................7 1

Coastal Resources: Status, Utilisation, Management ....................................................... 7 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8


Socio-Economic Features, Infrastructure And Social Services ..................................... 27 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5


Coastal Erosion Rates And Critical Sites...................................................................................43 Specific Areas Of Erosion Along The Gambian Coast...............................................................43 Effects Of Coastal Erosion.........................................................................................................44 Causes Of Coastal Erosion........................................................................................................45 Past Erosion Control Measures And Assessment Of Their Performance..................................47 Causes Of Failure Of Coastal Erosion Combating Measures....................................................48

Legal And Institutional Arrangements ............................................................................... 49 6.1 6.2 6.3


Land-Use Planning ....................................................................................................................39 Development Control .................................................................................................................41

Coastal Erosion .................................................................................................................... 43 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6


Introduction ................................................................................................................................35 Tourism Earnings .......................................................................................................................35 Tourism Employment .................................................................................................................36 Socio-Economic Implications Of The Tourism Development .....................................................37

Land-Use Planning And Development Control ................................................................. 39 4.1 4.2


Population ..................................................................................................................................27 Economy ....................................................................................................................................29 Infrastructure..............................................................................................................................30 Social Services ..........................................................................................................................33 System Of Settlements/Villages.................................................................................................33

Tourism ................................................................................................................................. 35 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4


Coastal Geomorphology ..............................................................................................................7 Coastal Dynamics ........................................................................................................................7 Climate.........................................................................................................................................8 Fisheries ....................................................................................................................................10 Mineral Resources .....................................................................................................................15 Water Resources .......................................................................................................................17 Forestry......................................................................................................................................19 Wildlife .......................................................................................................................................21

Institutions And Their Mandates.................................................................................................49 Land Tenure In The Gambia ......................................................................................................52 Land Administration ...................................................................................................................53

INTEGRATED COASTAL AREA MANAGEMENT STRATEGY ......................................54 7

Strategy Framework ............................................................................................................. 54 7.1 7.2 7.3

Institutional Aspects ...................................................................................................................55 Boundaries.................................................................................................................................56 Participation And Public Awareness ..........................................................................................56



Sectoral Strategies ............................................................................................................... 57 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9

Population.................................................................................................................................. 57 Land-Use Planning .................................................................................................................... 58 Tourism...................................................................................................................................... 61 Coastal Erosion ......................................................................................................................... 63 Wildlife....................................................................................................................................... 65 Fisheries .................................................................................................................................... 67 Mineral Resources..................................................................................................................... 69 Forestry ..................................................................................................................................... 70 Water Resources....................................................................................................................... 71

REFERENCES ................................................................................................................................. 73


Sediment transport by local streams........................................................................................... 8

Table 2.

Maximum and minimum monthly temperatures for Banjul between 1980 and 1990 .................. 9

Table 3.

Mean values of some weather/climate parameters .................................................................... 9

Table 4.

In-situ Reserves of Heavy Minerals in the Coastal Area, in '000 of Metric Tonnes .................. 16

Table 5.

Rural water supply facilities as of December 31, 1994 ............................................................. 18

Table 6.

The status of the Gambia’s large mammals and reptiles.......................................................... 22

Table 7.

Mammals of the Study Area...................................................................................................... 23

Table 8.

Sites of Ecological Importance within the Study Area ............................................................... 25

Table 9.

Population growth rates in The Gambia 1973-1993.................................................................. 27

Table 10. Population and growth rates in LGAs........................................................................................ 27 Table 11. Freight traffic, exports and imports, in tonnes........................................................................... 30 Table 12. Arrival of air charter tourists by nationality for the period 1990/91 to 1993/94 .......................... 35 Table 13. The breakdown of the “out of pocket” expenditure, quarter April to June 1993 ........................ 36 Table 14. Occupancy rate of the hotels in The Gambia, quarter January to March 1994 ........................ 36 Table 15. Land-Use Planning Management Strategy Outline ................................................................... 60 Table 16. Tourism Management Strategy Outline .................................................................................... 63 Table 17. Coastal Erosion Management Strategy Outline ........................................................................ 65 Table 18. Wildlife Management Strategy Outline...................................................................................... 67 Table 19. Fisheries Management Strategy Outline................................................................................... 69 Table 20. Mineral Resources Management Strategy Outline ................................................................... 70

LIST OF MAPS After page Map 1.

Project Study Area ..................................................................................................................... 4

Map 2.

Fisheries..................................................................................................................................... 4

Map 3.

Mineral resources..................................................................................................................... 20

Map 4.

Ecologically Sensitive Areas .................................................................................................... 20

Map 5.

Population Density (1991) ........................................................................................................ 34

Map 6.

Tourist Bed Accommodation ................................................................................................... 34

Map 7.

Bathymetry Map ....................................................................................................................... 48

Map 8.

Coastal Erosion........................................................................................................................ 48


List of Acronyms CMEWG

Coastal and Marine Environment Working Group


Dept. of Forestry


Dept. of Fisheries


Dept. of Technical Services


Dept. of Physical Planning and Housing


Dept. of Parks and Wildlife Management


Gambia Public Transport Corporation


Geological Unit


Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources


Ministry of Health


Ministry of Local Government and Lands


Ministry of Tourism and Culture


Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment


Ministry of Works and Communication


National Environment Agency


Ports Authority


Working Group Members National Team: Ministry of Works and Communication Dept. of Technical Services

Mr. Baboucarr Diba Mr. Abdoulie Diba

Gambia Public Transport Corporation

Mr. Pa Lamin Beyai

Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dept. of Fisheries Dept. of Water Resources Dept. of Parks and Wildlife Management Dept. of Forestry

Mr. Amadou Saine Ms. Isatou Sissoho Mr. Paul Murphy Mr. Lamin Bojang

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment Geological Unit

Mr. Fafa Sanyang

Ministry of Local Government and Lands Dept. of Lands and Survey Dept. of Physical Planning Dept. of Tourism Office of the President National Environment Agency

Mr. Alieu Jobe Mr. Ebrima Cham Mr. Ismaila Kah Mr. Charles Jallow Mr. Momodou Cham Ms. Sallimatta Lamin-Wada Mr. Momodou Sarr Mr. Nyada Yoba Baldeh Mr. Malang Barrow

International Team: UNEP/MAP Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre

Mr. Gojko Berlengi

Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research

Mr. Larry Awosika

FAO Project Coordinator

Mr. Tolu Orekoya


Introduction The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has been implementing the Project “Integrated Coastal Areas: Training and Development of National Capabilities for Planning and Management of the West and Central African Region” (WACAF/11) in co-operation with the Ocean and Coastal Areas Programme (OCA/PAC) of UNEP, and through the Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) of the UNEP's Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). A part of WACAF/11 referred to The Gambia and envisaged the preparation of a Coastal Profile, as well as the development of an Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) Strategy for the selected study area. The main objectives of the ICAM Project in The Gambia include: •

to promote cross-sectoral learning about coastal resources and uses as well as use conflicts and issues, and information exchange among institutions and stakeholder groups at the local, regional and national levels;

to formulate effective, participatory approaches and strategies for addressing coastal management problems;

to encourage communication and collaboration among coastal resource stakeholders;

to provide on-the-job training for the National Team members;

to start building the local, national, and global support required for the implementation of the coastal management strategy; and

to make contribution in the setting up of a regional database on coastal resources, issues and management practices in WACAF/11 countries.

In accomplishing the task, PAP/RAC consultants have closely co-operated with the National Environment Agency, the national Steering Committee of the Coastal and Marine Environment Working Group and other relevant national institutions and stakeholder groups.

The Rationale for Integrated Coastal Area Management in The Gambia Coastal Zone in The Gambia Environmental Action Plan (GEAP) The GEAP prepared by the NEA in consultation with relevant institutions and the public, was adopted in July 1992. The Action Plan, which is to be revised in 2001 unless new developments and emergent needs warrant an earlier revision, relates to all matters affecting the environment, and identifies key environmental issues and strategies to control, prevent and mitigate all harmful effects on the environment. As the key document for environmental planning at the national level, the plan is to help conserve and promote the sustainable use of natural resources. A certain number of issues actually triggered the launching of the process of coastal area management in The Gambia. The most important ones are broadly stated in following paragraphs. In the chapter of the GEAP, the coastal zone is identified as an “... important natural and economic resource which if utilised in an appropriate manner will yield important economic benefits. Uncontrolled sand removals from the beach, and unplanned tourist development along the coastline are serious problems which need to be stopped. There is a lack of basic technical information on coastal dynamics necessary for effective management of the coastal zone.”


The largest population density is along the coast where the employment possibilities are greater by far than in the rest of the country, mainly because of the tourism sites and government institutions. The infrastructure development in this area has accelerated in recent years, and it is believed that the unplanned tourism development has been exacerbating the coastal erosion. The Gambia has been identified by UNEP as one of the ten countries most vulnerable to sea level rise due to global warming. Amidst the conflicting debate among international scientists on the effects and speed of global warming, The Gambia has now awarded the issue appropriate attention by the formation of the National Climate Committee. The pollution of the beaches, caused mainly by fish processing on the beach within the artisanal sector, litter, especially cans and plastic containers from the tourist industry, and sewage outfalls is of major concern. The other area of concern is the depletion of groundwater resources in the coastal area. In the Greater Banjul Area, the supply-demand equilibrium has apparently been reached. Further extraction of groundwater beyond the present level could cause saltwater intrusion into the wells in the coastal zone, especially as the rate of groundwater recharge decreases with the declining annual rainfall in recent years. The improper disposal of both solid waste and sewage can lead to the contamination of wells. There is already a high incidence of water-related diseases such as diarrhoea and dysentery especially among infants, reported in health centres and elsewhere. One of the key issues in the coastal area is the absence of an effective land-use planning and development control system. Both are needed to rationalise the development of land, to coordinate it with infrastructure provision and to ensure protection of the environmental resources, all in the interest of sustainable development of the Gambian coast. Finally, The Gambia is a signatory to a number of treaties and conventions which provide the basis for the establishment of coastal area management.

Institutional Framework for Environmental Management The National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) further elaborates control and management of the environment. Under Section 10 of NEMA, it is stipulated that the National Environment Agency (NEA) shall perform the following functions: •

implement the policies of the council on the environment;

liaise with the various ministries, departments and agencies of the Government on all issues relating to the environment, and ensure that environmental concerns are integrated into all spheres of national planning and project implementation;

liaise with the private sector, inter governmental organisations, governmental agencies of other states on all issues relating to the environment;

prepare proposals of environmental strategies for the council;

initiate legislative proposals, standards, guidelines, and regulations in accordance with the provisions of this Act;

undertake studies and submit reports and recommendations to the council on the matters likely to have an impact on the environment; and

promote public awareness of environmental issues through gathering, analysing and disseminating information about the environment, and publishing periodic reports on the state of the environment.


Coastal and Marine Environment Working Group The Executive Director of NEA was empowered by NEMA to establish a Coastal and Marine Environment working group with the following terms of reference: •

to formulate, review and revise policies relating to all coastal, marine and fluvial activities;

to advise the National Environment Agency and the Government on matters arising on the sustainability, protection, development and monitoring of the coastal, marine and fluvial environment; and

to form and guide the work of task forces on issues that may arise relating to coastal and riverbank erosion, marine and fluvial environment, sand mining, and oil spill contingency plans.

The working group consequently formed, comprises the following institutions: • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Gambia Ports Authority; Kanifing Municipal Council; Brikama Area Council; Banjul City Council; Department of Fisheries; Department of Forestry; Department of Water Resources; Geological Unit; Department of Physical Planning; The Gambia Public Transport Corporation; Department of Technical Services; and National Environment Agency.

The current coastal erosion rate of 1-2 metres annually is a major environmental problem, which has required the creation of a multi-sectoral working group due to its complexity. The membership of the working group has been selected to include all the major stakeholders in the coastal area. The exclusion of the National Tourist Office from the working group could be seen as a setback, considering the major role of tourist activities and their impact on the coastal zone. A significant achievement of the working group is the collective effort to get the sand mining transferred from Bijilo Beach to the relict sand dunes on the outskirts of Kartong Village. After the initial delay, the sand mining did actually start at Kartong in January 1996.

Planning Process and Methodology Leading national institution and the PAP/RAC main counterpart in the implementation of the ICAM Project in The Gambia, has been the National Environment Agency (NEA). In addition, a national team was created, including mostly the members of the Steering Committee of the Coastal and Marine Environment working group. Although the members of the working group have been selected to cover all the major sectors and stakeholders in the coastal area, the group agenda so far has been dominated by the coastal erosion and related problems, such as beach sand mining (now hopefully satisfactorily solved). Although coastal erosion is a large problem in The Gambia, during the joint work the ICAM team has tried to move from strictly reactive policies as a response to emergency situations to comprehensive understanding of the coastal environment and the processes taking place there. Traditionally, the resources of The Gambian coast, as in most places, have been developed in a sectoral (e.g., fisheries, tourism, forestry) manner with insufficient regard to the inherently integrated nature of coastal and marine resources that support these sectors. Coastal areas 3

are also usually managed mostly around political/administrative boundaries rather than environmental units, which often results in overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities. Finally, sectoral approaches often target short-term rewards without taking into account the long-term costs of resource depletion. This very first generation of the coastal area management efforts in The Gambia obviously requires some improvements. To this end the ICAM Project and the joint working team offered an approach based on the following elements: •

Full understanding of interrelationships among the coastal resources and their use, and the impacts of development on the environment is essential. This is the prerequisite for the move from reactive, ad hoc measures to preventive actions which are always cheaper and safer than rectifying environmental harms later.

ICAM is a permanent, long-term, iterative process in which coastal profile and management strategy preparation is just one step. Both documents will serve as the basis for the preparation of the coastal management Master Plan which will provide final framework for the first-generation coastal management initiatives in The Gambia.

Although the Coastal Profile and ICAM Strategy were expected and needed outputs, equal attention during the joint work has been paid to the planning process itself. To this end, international consultants often applied an approach where contents emerged from the guided process. This methodology requires all the team members to share responsibility for what they do, while consultants take the role of process facilitators. In addition, this encourages team members to take ownership of the activity outcomes.

Another aspect of active participation of the team members and other stakeholders in the ICAM process is of particular importance. Given the fact that the team members are specialists in different fields, this allowed for cross-sectoral analysis of issues, balancing of arguments and judgements, as well as co-ordination of policies and actions. In addition, the presence of the international consultants provided for another important component of the project: transfer of international knowledge and experience in ICAM, local capacity building for ICAM, and transfer of national specialist knowledge and experience to the international team, for creating synergies and substantial improvements in the process and product alike.

Spatial component and positional exactness is often important in depicting coastal phenomena. Accordingly, a significant aspect in the coastal profiling phase was the use of geographic information systems (GIS) as a principal tool in environmental information management. Traditionally, majority of disciplines communicate much easier in textual form, so the requirement to have “problems” drawn or marked down on the maps was good exercise for all the team members. As a matter of fact, NEA has undertaken important steps in establishing a strong environmental information section, and selected GIS as a principal technology for environmental information management. Building upon this, the ICAM Project organised a five-day training course on ARCVIEW 2.1 for some of the National Team members and the NEA GIS lab staff.

An important fact in the case of The Gambia has been a large number of projects simultaneously under way, putting heavy demand on some National Team members. Although most of those projects deal with sectoral or subject policies, such as forestry, fisheries, environmental legislation or coastal erosion (as opposed to ICAM approach which is areafocused, addressing the problems of the Gambian coast), the prepared reports and documents proved to be an invaluable source of information for the Coastal Profile compilation.

Study Area: Southern Coastal Region One of the objectives of the ICAM Project in the West African Region is to start or support initiatives towards a national integrated coastal management policy. To this end, in each 4

country a study area has been proposed where initial coastal management activities will take place. Firstly, a proposed study area with its problems and concerns had to be as representative as possible of the whole coast. Secondly, in defining landward and seaward boundaries a flexible approach was adopted, following the boundaries given by the problem or issue being addressed. Therefore, to define the Study Area several sets of criteria were used, depending on the nature of the problem or issue(s). At the national level, the Gambian coast has naturally been divided by the Gambia river in two parts or regions, Northern and Southern. Given the number and seriousness of coastal problems, the working team focused on the Southern Coastal Region. Having in mind the requirement of representativeness (i.e. to cover estuary ecosystem, eroded shoreline, TDA and its environmentally sensitive areas) the team opted for the whole Southern Coastal Region. The administrative division of the Southern Coastal Region (which belongs to the Western Division) includes districts and villages. This division is appropriate for the analysis of the population and economy (Census data), urban and regional development, and institutional structure. Accordingly, an area encompassing four Kombo Districts was adopted as the wider Study Area. The “ecosystem approach” was used to define the landward boundary wherever an environmentally sensitive area was found (areas of coastal natural resources, biodiversity issue or an environmental problem). Following this approach the adopted Study Area encompassed mangrove swamps in the Gambia river estuary southern bank, and valuable (some of them already protected) coastal forests and wildlife reserves. Visual and scenic values of the coastal landscape are important to be preserved as a basis for future development (i.e. as tourist attractions, usually designated as non-buildable or multiple use areas). Accordingly, the adopted Study Area boundary includes the pre-existing Tourism Development Area. With regard to the seaward boundary, there are no significant cross sectoral issues or use conflict areas in the open sea, so 12 nautical miles from the coastline (where full sovereignty is given to coastal states by international law) was accepted as the seaward limit of the Study Area.



I 1

Coastal Profile Coastal Resources: Status, Utilisation, Management

1.1 Coastal Geomorphology The coastline of The Gambia is about 80 km long, from the mouth of the Allahein River in the south (130º4' N) to the Buniadu point in the north (130º31'56” N). From the Allahein River to the Cape Saint Mary facing the Atlantic ocean, the coastline is about 56 km long; from the Cape Saint Mary to the Banjul point 13 km, and from the Barra point to the Buniadu point 11 km. Seawards the coast is separated from the continental slope or deep sea by the continental shelf wide 80 km which is marked by the 200 bathimetric line. Landwards the coast consists of the catchments of the Gambia, Saloum and Allahein rivers at the northern and southern borders with Senegal respectively, and several small local rivers such as the Kotu Stream, Tanji River, Tujering River and River Kakima. The embayed sandy parts have been prograding since the end of the Nouakchottian transgression i.e. about 5500 years BP (Whyte, Stewart, Pijl 1981). The amount of progradation varies at different locations but is generally of the order of 200-400 m in the Batu Kunku area, and 500-800 m in the Sanyang and Kartong areas. These predominantly sand deposits, in both the surf zone (present beach) and the raised or ancient beach (usually covered with vegetation) have been grouped together as the Holocene Coastal Beach Complex. The raised beaches consist of yellowish medium to fine sands with distinctive black colouring as a result of heavy mineral presence. These sands have been originally reworked by waves and exceptionally high waters into series of broad, low ridges, parallel to the present shoreline, and later modified by aeolian processes (Whyte, Stewart, Pijl, 1981). Landwards, behind the Beach Complex, the geology of the coastal area is made predominantly of the continental terminal series which forms the protruding rocky headlands. The continental terminal rises from 10-15 m at the coast to 100 m at 400 km inland. Pleistocene and Holocene formations exist in the wetland (the River Gambia and its estuary plus other coastal rivers). These include the Pleistocene alluvium of undivided sand, silt and clay, and the Holocene marine fluvial (typically of the River Gambia estuary) of undivided sand silt, clay salt and organic deposits.

1.2 Coastal Dynamics Tides in The Gambia are of the semi-diurnal type with two daily high and two daily low waters in each lunar day. Tidal ranges are low: at Banjul, for example, the tides of highest magnitude or spring tides are of 1.6 m, whilst the neap or lowest tide is 0.7 m. Consequently, the tidal


currents along the coast are generally week (less than 0.1 m/s) with the exception of the Gambia River estuary where the tidal currents exceed 1 m/s. The coastal area experiences the following winds: marine trade winds which account for 43% of the average readings at Banjul, the NE or Hamattan 17%, and the rain-bearing NW 18%, the rest being calms (Delft Hydraulics, 1992). With regard to wave action from the Atlantic Ocean, the prevailing wave direction is the NW swell (98%) which is the most important factor in explaining the littoral regime. Because of the general north-south orientation of the coast this swell induces a major south-going sediment movement, particularly south of the Bald Cape to the Allahein River. Between the Bald Cape and the Cape Saint Mary (oriented SW-NE) however, the littoral drift goes in the opposite direction, northwards. Between the Cape Point and Banjul the coast is oriented W-E and east-going littoral drift is being experienced. In the north between the Barra Point and the Buniadu Point, the drift is southerly along the North-South oriented coast. The littoral drift along the coast south of the Bald Cape has been estimated at 100,000 to 250,000 m³/yr. based on the Sangamar spit development at the mouth of the River Saloum (Delft Hydraulics, 1992). East of the Cape Saint Mary, the littoral drift is between 30,000 and 100,000 m³/yr. The Delft Hydraulics report of 1992 concluded that the coastal watersheds, including the River Gambia and its estuary, contributed insignificantly to the sediment budget of the coast. In the River Gambia estuary an inward sediment transport is experienced due to the gravity circulation induced by the density gradient which in turn is caused by salt water intrusion. This estuary serves as a sediment sink rather than a source of sediment for the coast. Material is transported westwards towards the river mouth from upstream, while the coastal current moves the material eastwards into the estuary. Local streams and rivers debauching at the coast have too limited catchments to contribute any significant amount of sediment to the coast (see Table 1 below), Table 1. Sediment transport by local streams Source: Delft Hydraulics, 1992

Stream Near Barra Oyster Creek Cape Creek Kotu Stream Tanji River Tujering River Kakima River

Catchment 27 km² 20 km² 3 km² 65 km² 145 km² 26 km² 100 km²

Transport m³/year 1,800 – 5,500 – – 4,500 – 9,000 10,000 – 30,000 1,800 – 5,000 7,000 – 20,000

The Allahein River, on the other hand, has a larger catchment area of 500 km² and flows more directly into the sea without a wide estuary. A sediment discharge at the mouth of the river is estimated at 30,000-100,000 m³/yr. Sediments delivered here are transported southwards onto the Cassamance coast.

1.3 Climate The climate of The Gambia is of a “Sudano-Sahelian” type, with two distinct seasons, a short, hot, rainy season from June to October, and a long dry season (partly cool) from November to May. Cool, dry, dusty winds blow in from the Sahara Desert from November to April. A 8

decreasing trend in rainfall has been observed since the sixties, a cooler period in the eighties, and lower atmospheric humidity during seventies and eighties. Temperature Temperature measurements for the past 10 years are shown in Table 2. Mean values recorded are in the range of 28 to 26°C. The coolest months coincide with the dry season in January and February. Cool, dry, dusty winds blow from the Sahara (North Easterly Direction) during this period lowering the temperatures. The hottest period of the year is around September/October at the end of the rainy season. Table 2 shows the minimum and maximum monthly temperatures at Banjul recorded between 1980 and 1990. Table 2. Maximum and minimum monthly temperatures for Banjul between 1980 and 1990 Source: Meteorological Division, Department of Water Resources














Maximum Minimum

30.1 19.2

31.7 19.6

31.5 21.0

30.4 21.3

29.6 22.1

30.5 24.1

31.1 24.8

30.7 24.7

31.6 24.6

32.5 25.3

30.7 23.6

31.2 20.9

Rainfall Rainfall figures for The Gambia recorded in the past 10 years range from 870 to 744 mm. The highest is recorded in the south-western part of the country, whereas the lowest rainfall figures were recorded in the North and East of the country. There is very little variation in the climate apart from rainfall, and this is mainly attributed to the relief which is generally flat. Like many other countries in the Sahel zone, The Gambia has experienced a reduction of rainfall over the years. Rainfall computed for 30 years up to 1990, has shown a yearly average of 1,180 mm which decreased to 924 mm in 1990. At Janjaburey (Georgetown in CRD) in the north-eastern region a similar trend was noted, decreasing from 1,000 mm to 789 mm in 1990 (Source: Meteorology Division – Department of Water Resources). Humidity The highest humidity values are recorded around July, August and September, at the height of the rainy season. During this period humidity levels may exceed 80%. With the onset of the cool, dry season humidity levels can be as low as 11% at Sapu. The mean humidity values for the past ten years were in the range of 56 to 64 % (see Table 3). Table 3. Mean values of some weather/climate parameters Source: Meteorological Division, Department of Water Resources

Stations Banjul Yundum Kerewan Jenoi Sapu Basse

Rainfall (mm)

Temp (°C)

RH (%)

PET (mm)

805 870 760 744 750 813

26.7 26.4 27.8 27.5 27.7 28.2

63.7 64.7 57.2 56.7 56.2 57.2

42.1 44.2 44.1 46.8 43.4

RH – relative humidity, annual mean, PET – potential evapotranspiration, annual mean, RAINFALL and TEMP decade mean.


Evapotranspiration Scientific models have predicted in addition to increasing temperatures, an increase in evapotranspiration, resulting in low soil moisture availability for crops, thus increasing environmental stress. Measurements show a higher PET during the period from January to July. During the rainy season there is a decrease, mainly due to higher temperature. The highest figure was recorded at Kerewan in the North Bank Division for the month of March 1981 at 78.1, whereas a figure as low as 31 was recorded at Yundum in the Western Division in 1985 during the month of February.

1.4 Fisheries Fish Resource Potential The Gambia's continental shelf covers an area of 3,855 km² and is believed to be one of the richest fishing grounds in the West African sub-region. In addition to its marine resources the River Gambia and its tributaries contain significant fresh water fish resources. Knowledge of the potential resource is constrained by inadequate financial and technical resources to conduct comprehensive and in-depth resource assessment studies. Demersals The demersal fauna is extremely varied. Near the river estuary the most numerous species are the croakers (Sciaenidae), grunts (Pomadasyidae), thread fins (Polynemidae) and mullets (Mugilidae). Pelagics The most common fish in the region are the small pelagics, Sardinella aurita, Sardinella eba and Sardinella maderiensis, offshore, and closer inshore, the bonga Ethmalosa fimbriata. The latter are found in great abundance in shallow waters, particularly within the river estuary, and constitute the largest portion of the catch of artisanal fishermen. The Sardinella are highly migratory and are found near areas of cooler upwelling or at depths of 70m to 90m when surface waters are warm. Much less numerous among the pelagic species but of greater individual commercial value are the mackerels (Scomber japonicus), jacks (Carrangids spp) and barracudas. The maximum sustainable yield of pelagics is estimated at 60,000 tons per year. Estimated Sustainable Yield (Maximum Sustainable Yield) Whereas demersal resources are believed to be fully or even over-exploited, there appears to be still potential for additional harvests of small pelagic species. High value shrimp and lobster resources are also believed to be fully or over-exploited. The current estimate for potential sustainable yield is 1,000 tonnes. The high value demersal fish stocks are subject to intensive exploitation from industrial fisheries, but there is little data available, and no analyses have been done in this field. The improvement of the database on catches by industrial vessels was taken up through a Food and Agricultural Organisation, Technical Co-operation Programme project in 1994 and the final results are awaited. At present, there is no hard evidence of a decline in the stocks of bonga and other small pelagics available to the artisanal canoe fishery. However, there is a noticeable trend of new entrants into this and other fisheries, and average catches per canoe are likely to decrease gradually. Many of the new entrants are from neighbouring Senegal.


There is a small fishery for lobsters and this high value resource is believed to be heavily exploited. Local fisheries officials are empowered to prevent the capture of small immature lobsters, as well as of adult egg-bearing females. Clearly, the pelagic stock is under exploited considering its potential yield and its estimated yearly production. This, to a large extent is due to the fact that it is not the target species of the industrial sector. The potential annual yield of the demersal species is, on the average, 16,000 metric tonnes. According to the estimated production (1990) there is the likelihood of overfishing, and this becomes even more likely since it is the preferred target of the industrial sector. This precarious state of the demersal stocks underscores the need for appropriate regulatory measures to ease pressure on these species, particularly the shrimp resources. The absence of sufficient biological data on the shrimp stocks (oceanic and estuarine) makes this need even more urgent. High percentages of juveniles are now being landed by the artisanal sector. Types of Fisheries The sector is divided into industrial and artisanal fisheries. Industrial vessels tend to be large offshore vessels, often of foreign ownership, whereas the artisanal craft vessels are locally built wooden canoes. The industrial sub-sector The industrial sub-sector is characterised by large-scale private investment in export oriented production, based mainly in Banjul. This sub-sector is dominated by large-scale processing and export-marketing companies of Gambian and/or foreign ownership. There are now more than 12 registered local companies but only 5 of these can be categorised as viable enterprises with relatively adequate on-shore facilities. The rest lack either their own fishing vessels, or appropriate on-shore facilities, or both. Licensing agreements are also entered into with distant water foreign vessels. Normally, these acquire their fishing licences through local companies acting as commissioned agents. The sector contributes less than 10% of domestic fish consumption, the main bulk of its production destined for overseas markets. The artisanal sub-sector The artisanal sub-sector is characterised by low levels of investment and operations from many dispersed and often isolated landing sites. The artisanal sub-sector provides about 90% of the locally consumed fish supply, and provides employment for over 1,500 people in the harvesting part, and a further 13,000-18,000 people in related boat building, fish handling, processing, transportation and marketing activities. However, many of the fishermen are not Gambian nationals, and there is a considerable degree of seasonality in employment. Some of those employed in the processing of fish are women who may also be involved in some of the fish marketing activities. Artisanal marine fishing has been attracting increasing activity, with some 400 canoes (57% with motor, Fisheries Department 1994 Frame Survey Report) landing some 15,000 t annually (mostly bonga) at fishing villages along the Atlantic coast. The canoes use purse seines which require a minimum crew of 12 (twelve). Many of these fishermen are Senegalese who are now based in The Gambia. Some of them work seasonally. In artisanal coastal fisheries, the following major fishing methods are used according to the species of fish: (1) surround gill net for mass type of pelagic fish such as bonga, (2) bottom gill net for sea catfish, (3) drift gill net for migratory large fish such as barracuda, (4) bottom long line fishing for grouper and snapper, and (5) hand line fishing for grouper and snapper. There is no fish landing facility for industrial fisheries except the dilapidated wharf or jetty near the National Partnership Enterprise (NPE) factory in Banjul which requires replacement or 11

serious repair work. This jetty is used by trawl fishing vessels of fishing companies and wooden fishing canoes. Because of the serious damage to the upper structures of the jetty, the Gambia Ports Authority has issued an order suspending its use. For the artisanal fisheries a wooden pile type jetty was constructed on the Atlantic coast at the Tanji fish landing site under the EEC Artisanal Fisheries Development Project. But this jetty is little used by the artisanal fishing canoes since the fishermen do not seem to find it convenient for their operations. A more advanced jetty has been constructed at the Bakau fish landing site, also on the Atlantic coast, for the use by the artisanal fishermen. Neither this jetty has so far been used by the target beneficiaries, and the managers of the Fishing Centre are exploring other means of putting the jetty to profitable use. Shell fish Within the artisanal sub-sector there is also the oyster fishery, based on extensive natural populations of the West African mangrove oyster, Crassostrea tulipa. The oysters are found attached to mangrove roots and branches that line the Gambia River estuary. In most of the estuarine villages oyster harvesting is an important source of income, and in some areas oysters are an essential protein supplement for the family. Harvesters use machetes, axes, knives, cutlasses, to hack the oysters from the roots and branches, and in some cases the whole root or branch is chopped off in the process. At certain sites continuos harvesting and extensive destruction of overhanging roots and branches pose a threat not only to oyster stocks around these sites but also to the livelihood of the harvesters themselves. Chopping the roots and branches reduces the total available setting space for the oysters which can lead to decrease in population, and eventually jeopardise the availability of oysters in general. While there are no empirical data on the quantities harvested, the average size of the harvests has become smaller indicating intense exploitation. Oysters are a highly priced commodity, and given the high demand the current method of harvesting is putting a strain on the stocks at some sites. Oyster harvesting is dominated by women whose primary aim is to collect the meat. A survey conducted in 1990 counted 114 harvesters, 110 of whom (96.5%) were women. This total includes both Gambians and foreigners – 76.3% Gambians, 14% Senegalese, and 9.6% from the neighbouring Guinea Bissau. Of the 76.3% Gambian harvesters, 44.8% harvest at their local oyster grounds whilst the remainder are migratory. Oyster production levels vary from site to site, sometimes by as much as 3 times. Within the creeks and estuaries around Banjul, the daily production per harvester is 15-25 kg of shelled oysters, whilst at most inland sites the production is 40-60 kg per harvester. At average, local (non migratory) oyster harvesters earn approximately D 340.00 per month (US$ 35) during the harvest season. This is variable depending upon the size of the group (whether two or more women are in the group) and the location of the harvesting site. The data suggest that migrant harvesters generate more income than the non-migrant ones, earning an average of D 464.00 per month (US$ 48.8). Another important component of the oyster industry is the production of lime used for block making, wall plastering, painting and vegetable gardening. This aspect involves only the men using basically low-input techniques that require only oyster shells and fuelwood for burning the shells. Since both these resources are available at harvesting sites the only required element is labour. A lime maker would buy a heap of oyster shells, about 700-1000 kg from a harvester, for about D 40.00 (US$ 4.00) to produce 20 bags (50 kg each) of powdered lime. A bag of lime costs D 15.00 (US$ 1.6) amounting to at least D 300.00 or US$ 31.6. Besides oysters the only other shellfish harvested for sale to local consumers are clams. The harvesting of these shellfish is also an activity dominated by women. Like oysters they are found in the intertidal areas of the estuary of the river. However, unlike oyster, clams are found buried in the mud and the women harvesters use their hands to collect them. Clams are of lower value than oysters 12

and therefore attract lower prices than oysters. Exploitation of clams is not as intensive as that of oysters, and it also seems to have no harmful environmental effects. Aquaculture Aquaculture production has made little or no contribution to the local market or consumption balance sheet, either in terms of improved nutrition or supplementary income for the local population. It is generally assumed that there is potential for development of aquaculture in The Gambia. But so far efforts made to introduce and develop it have not yielded the expected results. The Fisheries Department is presently conducting a pilot aquaculture project in the Central River Division. It is a research initiative in fish culture using river fish in two ½ hectare ponds. Overview of Fisheries Policy and Programmes in The Gambia In 1989 the Government prepared a Fisheries Management and Implementation Plan which reviewed the fisheries sector and formulated a development strategy. This plan identified a number of factors constraining the potential of the fisheries sector to increase its contribution to economic and social development of The Gambia and defined the following objectives for the sector: •

To achieve a rational long term utilisation of marine and inland fisheries resources;

To use local fish as a means of improving nutritional standards of the population;

Consistent with the above, to increase employment and net foreign exchange earnings in the sector; and

To expand the participation of private Gambian entrepreneurs in the fishing industry.

A number of the proposed activities in the Fisheries Management and Implementation Plan have already been implemented. These include revision of the fisheries legislation, improvements to the enforcement of the zoning of artisanal and industrial fisheries, and the banning of beach seining. A new Fisheries Act was enacted by the Parliament in 1991 to replace the 1977 Fisheries Act. This Act and the Fisheries Regulations form the legal basis for the management, utilisation and development of the fisheries sector. Infringements of the Act and Regulations are dealt with by the Attorney General and the Civil Code. Most such cases are, however, settled out of court. The Fisheries Department's Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MC) Unit handles issuance of fishing licenses and monitors compliance with the Fisheries Act and Regulations. Fisheries Inspectors (Gambians) are placed on board licensed vessels fishing in the Gambian waters, in order to monitor fishing practices and catches, and to record essential biological data. This system seems to have only limited effect. Proper enforcement measures needs to be taken. In addition, the Marine Unit of the National Army is provided with a list of licensed vessels to enable them to identify legal and illegal fishing during their patrols of The Gambia's fisheries waters. The successful operations of the Marine Unit is often hindered by shortage of fuel, insufficient engine power and incomplete listing of vessels. Since 1991 aerial surveys of The Gambia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) have been conducted with an aircraft provided by the Government of The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This has complemented and reinforced the activities of the Marine Unit in preventing illegal fishing by foreign vessels. Contribution of the Fisheries Industry to the National Economy The contribution of fisheries, one of the primary industries, to the national GDP is estimated at approximately 2.8%. Fisheries contribute to the national economy along the following lines:


Employment and Revenue Generation An estimated 1,500 people were employed by the industrial sector in 1987 (Fisheries Department, unpublished), and this, added to the number engaged by the artisanal sector in the same year, should give a total of 3,100 people engaged in the fishing industry. Indeed, from a list of more than 15 industries in 1983, the fisheries sector ranked 8th, engaging 1% of the active population (Central Statistics Department, The Gambia, 1991). Within the food production sector (including agriculture, forestry, and hunting) fisheries contributed 1.3%, after agriculture's 98.5%, with forestry and hunting contributing 0.2% As mentioned earlier more than 90% of the industrial production is for export, and so the net benefit of the sector to the economy accrues mainly from the payment of licence fees and the annual employment of about 1,500 people. In terms of contribution to the locally generated revenue to the Government, the sector has been performing significantly, the highest contribution (13%) recorded in 1985/86. The Government revenue from licences and registration fees from 1989-1991 was about US$ 4 million and contributed more than 7% of the locally generated Government revenue. The total fisheries sector contribution to the total Government revenue for the same period was 2.8% and 3.2% respectively (Central Statistics Department, The Gambia 1991). Foreign exchange Table 6 indicates the value of exports from The Gambia, including fish and fish products during the period 1985 to 1990. Although the values of fish exports represent substantial foreign exchange earnings to the economy, their corresponding direct benefits in terms of revenue to the Government are much less, particularly with regards to the industrial sector. In spite of all the incentives put in place by the Government to encourage private entrepreneurs (duty-free fuel, export and import duty waiver for those who operate through letters of credit – LC) most private exporters do not export through LCs. Consequently, the foreign exchange component that should accrue to the Government from the fish export trade is below expectation. As an index of industry potential, the export trade scenario in value terms shows an absolute increase of 51% from 1986 to 1990, the foreign currency value of the fisheries export increasing by more than 248% in the same period. From the point of view of total national export, fish export values have generally increased in contribution, ranging from 4.2% in 1987 to 14.5% in 1989, and decreased to 11.5% in 1990. This represents an annual average increase of 9.7% over the period. Contribution to GDP Table 7 indicates the sectoral contributions to GDP and it attempts to compare the performance of the fisheries sector with the others. Within the food production sector fisheries ranks third, after agriculture and livestock, with an average annual contribution of 2.4% (a range of 1.7% in 1982/83 to 3.5% in 1990/91, an increase of over 105%). From the period 1982/83 the yearly rate of increase in fisheries contribution has been impressive, the lowest increase rate (4.4%) recorded in 1988/89. The highest rate of increase, 87.7% was recorded in 1986/87, then it dropped by 1.1% in 1987/88, to pick up again in 1989/90 by 4.4%. The second highest rate of increase was in 1990/91 (68%), and overall, an annual sectoral increase rate of 40.2%. The fisheries sector contributes significantly to the food production industry of the Gambian economy. Stakeholders The coastal population involved in fisheries can be divided into seven professional sub-groups: a) b) c) 14

Boat owners; Boat builders; Fishermen;

d) e) f) g)

Fish dryers; Fish smokers; Fish suppliers (banabanas); and Others, such as women fish carriers.

Artisanal fisheries development has had a significant impact on the number of people taking up fishing as a profession. Along the Atlantic coast artisanal fishermen make about 45% of the total fisheries population (Cassel & Jallow, 1991). This number is dominated by Senegalese nationals. Fish processors, comprising fish dryers and fish smokers, form 19% and 8% respectively. Fish smoking is carried out in smoke houses established at the coastal fishing centres. The male fish smokers operate on a higher scale than the female fish smokers. The men smoke at average 46,000 kilos of fish per year, while the women smoke much less than this, only about 6,000 kilos. Fish smoking is the predominant fish preservation method in the artisanal fisheries sector, and has adverse environmental effects, like deforestation in coastal areas. In most cases fish mongering is a full time job involving both men and women. Fish is bought and transported from the landing sites to the main urban markets in Banjul and Serekunda by male and female fish mongers. However, fish mongering in small villages and other settlements is the exclusive job of male fish mongers who use bicycles for the purpose. The communities adjacent to the landing sites comprise the residents of the coastal villages along the Atlantic coast, namely Brufut, Tanji, Batu Kunku, Tujereng, Sanyang, Gunjur and Kartong. The majority of these people were either farmers or traders, but many of them have in the course of time become engaged in fishing and fishing related activities as means of earning income. There are several fishing companies with land based factories in The Gambia. Presently only two or three are operating to some degree of success in Banjul, i.e. LyeFish Company, National Partnership Enterprises Ltd.(NPE), and Mahoney & Sons. Outside Banjul there are several fish factories, such as GB International, and BB & Sons Investments Ltd. These factories record various levels of success due to fluctuations in the supply of fish and other catches from their artisanal and industrial operations. There is also the problem of inappropriate siting of the facilities resulting in persistent complaints from residents and the tourist industry concerning pollution from fish processing activities, such as fish smoking and drying.

1.5 Mineral Resources Introduction The surface geology of The Gambia is simply made up of sedimentary rocks of Tertiary to present (Holocene) origins. Mineral deposits identified are limited to sand and placer heavy minerals – ilmenite, rutile, zircon, quartz sand, kaolinitic and plastic clays. In the coastal area, placer deposits of heavy minerals – zircon, rutile, and ilmenite occur in the raised beaches from Brufut to Kartong. The minerals occur as unconsolidated grains or within the sediments which have been derived from parent rocks of the continental terminal series as a result of weathering, transportation and deposition processes. Heavy Minerals Heavy minerals (ilmenite, rutile, and zircon) were mined for a short period in the 1950s by the Gambia Minerals Limited (GML), a subsidiary of a British Titanium Company. Since then


several surveys have been conducted by The Geology Department to determine the volume and quality of the deposits, but mining of these minerals is yet to take place. The deposits occur in economic quantities in the raised or ancient beaches in the coastal area at Brufut, Batu Kunku, Sanyang and Kartong. The following table gives the in-situ reserve estimates of these minerals. Table 4. In-situ Reserves of Heavy Minerals in the Coastal Area, in '000 of Metric Tonnes (Source: Whyte, Stewart, and Pijl 1981)

1% Cutoff Average Grade

Feed Location Bato Kunku Sanyang Kartong Brufut Dump

7,103 12,588 651 47






. Contains zircon only,

4.0 5.4 4.3 a b

Heavy Minerals


3% Cutoff Average Grade

285 679 28 11

3,053 5,955 225 47

7.1 9.4 9.8 24.0




a b

Heavy Minerals 216 559 22 11 808


. Excludes Brufut Dump.

The individual mineral distribution in the deposits are as follows: • • •

ilmenite 71.3%; rutile 3.3%; and zircon 14.6%.

Quartz Sand Deposits There are two quartz (silica) sand deposits in the Kombo Saint Mary District, Brufut and Abuko. The reserves of quartz sand in the Brufut deposit amount to 28,500,000 tonnes, and reserves at Abuko total 5,250,000 tonnes. In addition there are two quartz sand deposits at Mbakama and Jimbana in the North Bank Division. The Mbakama deposit contains approximately 100,000 tonnes of quartz sand, whereas the estimated reserves of quartz sand in the Jimbana deposit could be in the order of 700,000 tonnes. Quartz sand from both deposits have been tested and found suitable as a raw material for glass manufacturing. Construction Materials Construction sand and gravel are of low value, but are high volume commodities which contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the country. In the coastal area, sand and gravel mining is rampant, but until recently the only designated site for sand extraction was at Bijilo, used since 1985. Prior to restrictions imposed on sand mining at Bijilo in 1993, the estimated volume of sand extracted per year was approximately 100,000 to 150,000 m³ which had serious environmental impacts on the coastal area. The Bijilo beach sand mining was stopped in December 1995, and hence beach sand mining at Bijilo is now illegal. In January 1996 the Government opened the Kartong sand mining area. Sand mining involved the excavation of the sand dunes behind the first series of sand dunes fronting the beach. The site area is of approximately 27.6 ha, with the volume of sand estimated at 0.8 million cubic metres. The site is operated under the Management Plan with the monitoring and supervision


by the Geological Unit of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment. About 41,428 cubic metres of sand was mined between January and March 1996.

1.6 Water Resources Types of Water Resources Water is one of the two major natural resources in The Gambia, in addition to land. The draught of the early sixties and seventies necessitated the development of the water resources management in The Gambia. The sources of water in The Gambia are as follows: 1.

Seasonal rains, surface runoff from rainfall;


Surface water, the river Gambia catchment, 20% of land area; and


Groundwater, shallow and deep aquifers.

Seasonal Rains The rainy season starts in June and ends around October. This gives a period of 4 wet months (80% of rains fall within this period) and 8 dry months. The rainfall in the country varies both temporally and spatially, with patterns erratic and unpredictable over the years. In 1994, a mean value of 1,020 mm was recorded. The south western part of the country experiences a high rainfall total of 1,700 mm whereas the north eastern part has a lower figure of 800 mm. Seasonal rains are mainly used for rain-fed agriculture. Infiltration of the water into the soil provides moisture required for crop growth. Surface Water The Gambia river is the major source of surface water in the country. Its catchment area covers 2,000 km², or 20% of the total land area of the country. The entire stretch of the river from Banjul to Goulumbo is affected by tides. The salt-freshwater interface goes up to about 250 km in the dry season, and to 100 km in the wet season. Longitudinal profiles measured show that the saline front moves at a rate of up to 20 km by the end of the hydrological year. This limits the use of surface waters for domestic purposes. The potential use of surface water for irrigation is thus dependent on the position of this interface. Apart from the major tributaries of the Gambia river, all the other tributaries are shortlived and flow only during the wet season. Surface water supplies are therefore restricted to the eastern half of the country, where the flow from the river remains fresh. The only significant use in the semi urban areas and villages is for laundry and for animals. Ground Water Most drinking water is from groundwater which is found at shallow depths, and is of good quality. More than 80% of water supply for the country comes from the ground water. The groundwater occurs in two main aquifers, the upper shallow continental terminal, and the lower or deep sandstone aquifer. The upper shallow acquifer extends throughout the country and is at depths between 10 and 50 m. The upper one comprises 2 units, the phreatic and the semiconfined aquifers that are found at depths from 10 m to 120 m. The deep sandstone aquifer is confined at 200-300 m sequences of Clay and Marls. At Banjul, the aquifer is artesian, and piezometric levels are a few meters below the ground surface. The upper unit is tapped by shallow wells, whilst the semi-confined one is exploited by boreholes of the municipal supplies and irrigation systems. Abstraction is mainly through large diameter wells, and increasingly, through boreholes by several agencies involved in water supply


provision. Most households in the rural areas, and some in the Greater Banjul area, obtain water from shallow wells. The groundwater recharge is mainly derived from infiltration of rain water. The overall recharge of the shallow aquifer has been estimated at 630 million m³/year at average (GITEC Fs, 1991). The deep sandstone aquifer is recharged at a rate of 1.75 million m³/year on its outcrop in Senegal, but some of the through flow reaches The Gambia. Table 5 shows number of wells, boreholes, population and persons per water point in five divisions. Table 5. Rural water supply facilities as of December 31, 1994 (coastal division shaded) Division Western Lower River North Bank Central River Upper River



504,415 64,687 151,342 154,910 147,513

344 242 524 388 233

Boreholes 77 39 19 37 39

Persons per water point 1198 230 279 364 542

In general the rate of abstraction is much lower than infiltration, except for the areas of the Kombo North District where municipal abstraction has been marginally higher at the Kotu catchment (1981-85), an area of 45 km², recharge was 4.5 Mm³/year and abstraction 5 Mm³/year. Yields from the shallow aquifer are much lower, probably 0.5 litres/sec in most cases. The average rate of exploitation is lowest in the Central River Division, less than 0.5 litres/sec/km, and highest in the Western Division, with about 6 litres/sec/km. The total annual water production countrywide equals 22.83 Mm³/year which is about 3.6% of the estimated ground water recharge of 630 Mm³/year (GITEC Fs 1991). About 14.55 million cubic meters of ground water are extracted annually, half of which is being utilised for domestic purposes. It is envisaged that the water demand, due to the increase of population, would reach 41.1 million cubic meters by the year 2000. Water Quality Surface Water Chemical and to a larger extent biological indices have been used to determine surface water quality. Increasing salt water intrusion will render the adjacent fertile lands unsuitable for cultivation. Salinity increases the creation of barren flats (bare lands of acid and potentially acid sulphate soils). This occurs mainly in the Western part of the country. The use of fertilisers and herbicides in agriculture causes pollution of the river through run-off. Industrial waste discharge in the estuary may also cause gradual contamination as the river water moves up and down stream. Most industries in the greater Banjul area dump their waste into the estuary. The Banjul Breweries, tannery and other emerging small-scale industries dump their waste in the estuary. Until recently, nearly all the liquid waste including sewage was dumped at the Bond road side of the estuary. However, though the sewerage and drainage systems are now operational, it will take some time for the areas to recover. A 950 m sea outfall-pipe is pumping raw untreated sewage into the Atlantic side of the estuary. The level of contamination of the surface water and its periphery has been monitored for faecal pollution, studies carried out reveal that faecal coliform values lie within those set for primary contact in recreational waters. Dissolved oxygen 18

levels, for most samples taken, are higher than 4. BOD and COD values are also low, except around the Atlantic Hotel beachside. The level of ammonia is high, in most cases above the 0.02 mg/l guideline set. Pesticides, especially organochlorine, have been detected in the surface waters. Groundwater As mentioned earlier, the water of the shallow aquifers is naturally pure, except where local contamination causes a deterioration of the quality, though this is of very little health significance. Generally, from several studies carried out, it results that the groundwater tends to be acidic, with pH values within the range of 5-6.5. Few points have higher values, and those are mainly areas where saline intrusion occurs. Electric Conductivity (EC) and TDS tend to be higher in the Western part. The quality of boreholes is good, both bacteriologically and chemically. Most open wells, as expected, and some wells fitted with hand pumps, are of relatively poor quality. Nitrate and iron tend to be a more serious problem in these water supply systems. Almost all the other determinants, like calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and anions sulphate, chloride and bicarbonate, are generally low and within the WHO set guidelines. Maintaining the bacteriological quality is a problem in groundwater supplies except in urban centres with pipe-borne treated supplies. The faecal coliform values can be as high as 90% at all open wells, whereas about 50% or less of untreated supplies fitted with pumps are contaminated. In the urban centres, shallow wells tend to be more prone to varying levels of pollution by chemical, microbiological and biological agents. Pollution arises from domestic waste (sewage), agriculture (nitrates), and industrial activities (chromium). Problems of contamination may arise especially during the rainy season when the water table rises and microbes and other contaminants penetrate the underlying water source. Within the Tourism Development Area oxidation ponds are being used to collect sewage from the hotels. The contamination of ground water in this area cannot be negligible. The Kotu power plant discharges large quantities of waste oil which is being discharged without strict control. Although no study has been carried out in this area to determine the level of contamination, the aquifer below could be affected. Wastes from the agriculture and industrial sectors contribute to groundwater pollution as well. Wastes from agriculture are mainly from the use of fertilisers, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and pesticides which are used locally. Industrial contaminants, though limited, are mainly discharged indiscriminately thus being a possible source of pollution.

1.7 Forestry The Gambia has a Sudano-Savana vegetation type with a characteristic dry forest cover. In the past three decades alone the forests have undergone considerable degradation from about 60% closed forest type in 1968 to less than 10% closed forests in 1993. There is an obvious degradation trend in forest quality in The Gambia. The forest vegetation decreases in quality in the South-North direction, and in the East-West direction. The decrease in the northern part of The Gambia is a result of extensive clearing for agriculture, while the decrease in the east to west direction is a combination of agricultural clearing and soil formation. Soils in the western part of the country are deeper while those in the eastern part are characteristically shallow, usually less than 0.5 m, with underlying curass. Except in localised areas with deep soils, forests in the eastern part of the country are generally of lower quality then those in the central and western zones.


The Gambia's forests have been classified into three broad categories in 1981. These are “Closed Woodlands”, “Open Woodlands” and “Tree and Shrub Savana”. These have been defined to have canopy closure of more than 50%, between 10% and 50% and less than 10%, respectively. The Tree and Shrub Savana forest type has the most extensive occurrence in the Country. The Atlantic coast and the river banks have some of the best forest types. Forest Coverage The 1983 forest inventory report indicates an aerial coverage of 453,000 ha (43% of the total land area for all three types of forest). The closed woodlands, constitute only 28,000 ha (including Gallery forest types) while open woodlands account for 62,700 ha and mangroves (as special types of forest) account for 55,000 ha. The bulk of the forest in 1983 and in 1993, is made of tree and shrub savana which accounted for 347,000 ha in 1983. It has been observed that there has not been any significant change in the total forest coverage of the Country since 1968. However, a very significant degradation in quality has occurred as indicated by the drop in closed forest type from 60% in 1968 to less than 10% in 1983. In the Western Division, including Kombo St. Mary, to which all of the Atlantic coast belongs, one finds more than 55% of all closed forest vegetation of the country. The Kombo North and Kombo South, which immediately border the Atlantic, also have a significant closed forest cover. Forest Uses Forests have various economic, social and cultural values and uses in The Gambia. More than 85% of all energy consumed in The Gambia is generated from fuelwood. Fish processing (drying and smoking) to a large extent depends on firewood supply for its sustenance. In this way an estimated 600,000 cubic meters of wood are used annually, or 274,100 metric tonnes of oil equivalent. Thus fuelwood saves The Gambia Government significant amount of foreign currency for oil import. Another direct use of forest in the country is in the provision of materials for the construction industry. Forest produce like rhunpalm splits and timber are extensively used in the building sector in The Gambia. Almost 90% of all wooden materials for the construction of roof trusses are obtained from the national forests. Similarly, most people rely on locally produced timber for the furniture, and door and window frames for their houses. In the coastal areas, where rapid development takes place, the local forest resource has been subjected to extensive exploitation pressure. Traditionally, forests have been used, and continue to be used today, as a local medicine source. Trade in herbal medicine from the forest, although unquantified in monetary terms, runs perhaps in hundreds of thousands of dalasis annually. Savings made by families through the use of herbal medicine from the forest contributes significantly to poverty alleviation in The Gambia. Forests have served as important sources of food for the local population, particularly during the dry season when wild species of yam are harvested from the forest to provide food for the family. Forests and trees have an important role in the prevention of erosion. Along the Atlantic coastline, coastal erosion is visibly less severe in areas with significant tree vegetation cover. Similarly, the mangroves provide protection for The Gambia River banks, in addition to providing spawning grounds for various fish and crustacea. The local fishing industry is highly dependent on the comparatively cheap wooden canoes that are built out of trees found in the existing forests. As has been observed earlier, fishing is an important source of income for a considerable number of coastal residents.


Mangrove Ecosystem Mangroves are riverine vegetation that can thrive in varying degrees of salinity depending on the species. In The Gambia the four main species that occur are Avicennia africana, Laguncularia Racemosa, Rhizophora Racemosa and Rhiizophora Mangle. A fifth species believed to be a hybrid of the two latter species is Rhizophora harrisonii. Of the five species mentioned, the Avicennia spp is the most salt tolerant. Consequently this species could be found in and around the Banjul and Kombo St. Mary area, as well as in the lagoon areas close to the sea. The Rhizophora species which occur further up river, require brackish water although at certain times of the year they are exposed to highly salty water, and sometimes fresh water. Unless physically disturbed, the mangrove ecosystem is extremely versatile, especially with regard to its adaptability to changes in the water regime. The mangrove ecosystem of The Gambia has remained relatively stable over the decades. Except for localised areas of death, the total mangrove area remained unchanged since 1968. Low mangroves, such as Avicennia and Laguncularia have an aerial coverage of about 51,900 ha. The tall mangroves, the Rhizophora spp, which occur on the fringes of the river, cover only 15,000 ha. These areas have been the same since 1968. Recently, perhaps as a result of the disturbance of the ecosystem caused by the reconstruction of the Brumen bridge, a large area of mangroves along the Bintang Bolong perished. Prior to this occurrence however, there was a high death rate in the mangrove population as a result of a combination of edarphic and climatic factors. The construction work around the bridge area aggravated the situation. Although it may take time before the Brumen bridge area recovers, indications are that a gradual process of regeneration seems to be occurring in the area. Although the mangrove system could be said to be in a state of equilibrium, threats to disturbing this equilibrium still exist. Construction works close to the mangrove areas, particularly in the Greater Banjul Area, pose a threat to the stability of the local ecosystems. In the rural areas, especially in the Lower River Division, clearing of swamps for rice cultivation invariably results in clearing of mangrove areas. Disturbances resulting from these clearings may have repercussions for the stability of the adjacent mangrove ecosystems. Contribution of the Forestry Sector to GDP The forestry sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product has not been officially quantified. In 1987 the forestry sector’s share of domestic production was estimated at 1%. This estimate considered mainly the formal trade. The informal trade, which contributes more to the domestic production, was not determined. This informal sector, which trades in fuelwood, fence posts, wood carvings, honey, palm oil and palm kernel, as well as wild fruits provides employment for a large portion of the rural population. The foreign exchange savings from the local production and consumption of fuelwood, the equivalent of 274,100 metric tonnes of oil, was not considered either. There is an urgent need to make an assessment of the forestry sector’s contribution to the GDP at the national level in order to put the sector’s performance in the right perspective with a view to influencing policy decisions for better resource allocation and management.

1.8 Wildlife Introduction The large mammal fauna of The Gambia has been severely depleted over the last century, leaving only an impoverished and threatened remnant. The elephant and giraffe were exterminated before 1920, and Darby’s eland, lion, korrigum and others followed suit over the successive decades. Table 6 shows the status of some of the large mammals and reptiles of The Gambia. 21

Legal framework for the protection of the Gambian wildlife has been provided as early as 1901 under section 111 of “The Wild Animal, Bird and Fish Preservation Order”. The Wildlife Conservation Act (1977) repealed the 1916 Act while maintaining some of the subsidiary legislation of the earlier Act. The 1977 Act provides for the establishment of national parks, reserves and sanctuaries under the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, as well as providing for control of the hunting and sale of wild animals. The National Environment Management Act of 1994 also provides for the conservation of biodiversity and the establishment of biodiversity areas. The Gambia is a signatory to various international conventions pertaining to the management and protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat. Part of the coastal area between Banjul and Cape Point is currently under consideration by cabinet for designation as a Ramsar Site under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (see Table 8, sites 1 and 2). Wildlife in the Southern Coastal Zone The coastal strip of The Gambia has been subject to considerable pressure from human activity for many decades. Tourism development has altered much of the natural habitat from Cape Point south to Bijilo. Further south fishing activities (notably the collection of wood for fishsmoking), clearance of land for agriculture development and timber harvesting have had considerable impacts. The remaining sites with a high ecological value along the coastal strip are listed in Table 8. Table 6. The status of the Gambia’s large mammals and reptiles


Scientific name

Common name


Phacochoerus africanus Potamochoerus porcus Hippopotamus amphibius Girrafa camelopardalis Ourebia ourebi Tragelaphus scriptus Tragelaphus spekii Hippotragus equinus Kobus ellipsiprymnus Kobus kob Damiliscus lunatus Tragelaphus oryx derbianus Syncerus caffer Loxodonta africana Trichechus senegalensis Lycaon pictus Aonyx capensis Crocuta crocuta Hyaena hyaena Panthera leo Panthera pardus Leptailurus serval Caracal caracal Profelis aurata Sousa teuszii

Warthog Red-river hog Hippopotamus Giraffe Oribi bushbuck Sitatunga Roan Waterbuck Kob Western korrigum Derby eland Buffalo Elephant Manatee Wild dog Cape clawless otter Spotted hyaena Striped hyena Lion Leopard Serval Caracal Golden cat Hump-backed dolphin

common rare/extinct localised extinct extinct common rare rare vagrant extinct extinct extinct extinct extinct extinct rare extinct rare locally common extinct extinct rare rare rare rare locally common

Crocodylus niloticus Osteolaemus tetraspis Chelonia mydas

Nile crocodile Dwarf crocodile Green turtle

rare rare locally common

The original primary habitat of the coastal strip was closed woodland dominated by Rhun palm (Borassus aethiopum). Existing stands of such forest exist at Bijilo, Kachuma and Dau Dula. Much of the coastal forest has been degraded to coastal scrub or bushed-grassland. Such areas nonetheless retain a considerable ecological value for birds, small mammals and reptiles. River estuaries on the coast are generally characterised by lagoons with associated mangrove fringes, and salt-pans (barren flats). Such areas are dynamic and may undergo considerable alteration in morphology over very short time scales. The lagoons are generally backed by a stabilised dune system with characteristic vegetation zones grading into closed canopy forest. An intact example of this vegetation succession exists at the Tanji Bird Reserve. The diversity of the fauna in the coastal area is being reduced through degradation of the natural vegetation cover. Areas of high diversity are becoming limited and most are covered within Table 8. Among some of the large mammals there is considerable mobility with lie up sites provided by areas of closed vegetation, and nightly foraging extending into more open areas or agricultural land. Such movements are undertaken by hyena, aardvark and porcupine. Table 7. Mammals of the Study Area Common name

Scientific name

Spotted hyena Civat Genet Bushbuck Grey duiker Aardvark Porcupine Colobus monkey Vervet monkey Patas monkey Baboon Galago Water mongoose White-tailed mongoose Gambian mongoose Cape clawless otter Ratel Sun squirrel Striped ground squirrel

Crocuta crocuta Viverra civetta Ganetta thierryl Tragelaphus scriptus Cephalophus grimmia Orycteropus afer Hystix cristata Colobus badius badius Cercopithecus aethipos Erythrocebus patas Papio cynocephalus Galago senegalensis Herpestes paludinosus Inchneumia albicauda Mungos gambianus Aonyx capensis Melivora capensis Helioscurius gambianus Xerus erythropus

Reserves and Protected Areas within the Study Area Within the southern coastal strip of The Gambia, there are two gazetted reserves; the Bijilo Forest under the Department of Forestry, and the Tanji Bird Reserve under the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management. Bijilo is a fenced reserve of 51.3 ha gazetted in 1952. The Park is composed primarily of a closed canopy coastal forest dominated by rhun palms, and with a small strip of herbaceous dune vegetation. The reserve has resident troops of colobus 23

and vervet monkeys, and though unrecorded, invariably holds a range of small mammals such as mongoose, gennet and various rodents. Both the avifauna and reptiles are diverse though also little studied. The Tanji Bird Reserve, gazetted in 1993, covers an area of 616 ha, including the offshore Bijol Islands. The mainland area includes a wide diversity of habitat types: coastal lagoons, saltmarsh, mangrove, saltpan, dunes, grassland, scrub and woodland. The Bijol Islands are sparsely vegetated with herbaceous vegetation, and are important roosting grounds for waders, gulls and terns. The islands also form an important breeding ground for green turtles. The rare Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) has been sighted in the sound between the islands and the Bald Cape. The State of Wildlife within the Study Area Traditionally, most species of wildlife were hunted for meat, skins or other purposes. Within the Wildlife Act of 1977, all species are afforded full protection with the exception of certain pest species (warthdog, giant Gambian rat and cane-cutter rat) and birds listed in Schedule III of the Hunting Regulations. Despite this, hunting of a large range of other mammals still occurs with alarming frequency. Green turtles are commonly taken by fishermen in nets and sold openly in markets, and egg collecting from their nesting sites also occurs. Tourism is developing a more sustainable approach to wildlife utilisation, whereby tourists come to see wild animals and birds in their natural habitat. To date, little emphasis has been placed on marketing this potential of The Gambia, with the exception of the ornithological aspect which has remained quite a specialist area. Traditional hunters should be incorporated into the tourism field to utilise their skills as guides. Habitat degradation however, is having a major impact on the ecology of the coastal strip. Clearance of land by the coastal communities in search of farmland has affected the primary vegetation, and many species have become locally extinct or rare through as a result. For species that have been reduced by habitat alteration and/or over-exploitation, survival might be difficult to ensure even if adequate conservation measures are introduced, as many of these species may exist only in small, fragmented populations. Such populations may be below the minimum critical size for maintaining adequate genetic diversity, and as such will be unable to adapt to changing environmental conditions, as well as being particularly vulnerable to environmental catastrophes, diseases, and human population pressures. Of importance in landuse planning within the coastal strip is the maintenance of adequate pockets of diverse habitats with interconnecting corridors to allow for the movement of wildlife. The major threat to the maintenance of wildlife populations along the coastal strip however, remains habitat destruction. With the increasing degradation of natural vegetation cover, conditions are becoming marginal for many species and populations are becoming isolated into potentially non-viable pockets.





Socio-Economic Features, Infrastructure and Social Services

2.1 Population The Gambia has 1.026 million inhabitants according to the 1993 population census. With its land area of about 10,689 km², this makes the country one of most densely populated in Africa. The population growth rate was between 3.4% (1973/83) and 4.2% (1983/93) per year during the intercensal period. This high growth rate is accounted for by a high natural increase of 2.9% per year and migration rate. Table 9. Population growth rates in The Gambia 1973-1993 Source: Department of Central Statistics



1973 1983 1993

493,499 687,817 1,025,867

Growth rate 4.6 3.4 4.1

Table 9 above indicates that the decades 1973-1983 and 1983-93 were characterised by high growth rates. The highest annual growth rate (4.6%) was recorded during the decade 1963-73, declining to 3.4% in the period 1973-93. Though it is difficult to point out any specific reason for the fluctuation in the growth rates, it can mainly be attributed to the large-scale influx of foreign nationals. Table 10 below gives a comparative picture of the rapid population increase during 1973-83 and 1983-93 in the LGAs. Population has declined in Banjul by about 4% during 1983-93, as opposed to the increase of 12.79% in the previous decade. As a residential area, Banjul no longer has the same attraction it used to have. The high growth rates observed at Kanifing and Brikama means there is a considerable amount of migration into these areas from Banjul, other Local Government Areas, and even from outside the country. Table 10. Population and growth rates in LGAs (coastal LGAs shaded) Source: Department of Central Statistics

LGA 1973

Population 1983


Growth Rates 1973/83 1983/93

Banjul Kanifing Brikama Mansakonko Kerewan Kuntaur Georgetown Basse

39,179 39,404 91,013 42,447 93,388 47,669 54,232 86,167

44,188 101,504 137,245 55,263 112,225 57,594 68,410 111,388

42,407 228,945 233,063 64,687 151,342 68,292 86,618 147,513

12.79 157.60 50.80 30.19 20.17 20.82 26.14 29.27

4.03 125.55 69.82 17.05 37.53 18.58 26.62 32.43

The Gambia







The Greater Banjul Area comprises Banjul and Kanifing LGAs, the Kombo North District, and a part of the Kombo South District. The population of this area has increased from 184,803 in 1983 to 363,373 in 1993 (96.6%). It registered the highest percentage of growth, followed by Brikama. This is due to the massive rural-urban migration into the coastal area with employment opportunities. In Kanifing, Mansakonko and Kuntaur lower growth rates were observed in the period 1983-93 than in the period 1973-83. Fertility Fertility level varies across The Gambia. Fertility levels in Banjul and Kanifing are lower than in the rural areas. Greater access to education may be the underlying reason because the census results revealed a lower rate of 5.76 for women with primary and post-primary education, and 6.42 for women without education. Adolescent fertility has been a big problem with far-reaching social and economic consequences. The upsurge in teenage pregnancies led to increasing incidence of illegal abortion and dropouts from school. Mortality The trend of mortality has decreased from 217 to 120-140 per 1,000. Improvement and extension of health services are the underlying reasons. In the last 15 years the CDR has declined from 29-30 per 1,000 to 18 per 1,000. Accordingly, life expectancy at birth has increased from 33 years to 52.4 years. Child Mortality Rates (CMR), though decreasing, remains high. About 24% are expected to die before reaching the age of five. The maternal mortality rate is 10.5 per 1,000 live births. Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) are higher in rural than in urban areas, and the same goes for child mortality rates. The maternal mortality rate is also reported to vary from 8 per 1,000 live births in urban to 16 per 1,000 in the rural areas not covered by the primary health care services. The IMR is high among children born to mothers with primary and post primary education (120) as against 169 for those born to uneducated mothers. Migrations In 1993, the non-Gambian population amounted to 129,817, consisting of 73,692 males and 56,125 females. This figure includes tourists of Lebanese and other nationalities present in The Gambia during the census night. The country’s relatively open economy and hospitality have resulted in a large influx of foreign nationals to account for about 12.7% of the Gambian population. In 1983 and 1993 the highest percentage of foreigners was observed in Banjul. In 1993, about one persons in four in Banjul was a foreign national. Population Policy As a major step towards solving some of the above socio-economic problems, The Gambia Government has adopted a population policy with the following main goals:



to achieve a reduction in the rate of population growth;


to ensure a balanced spatial demand of the population;


to monitor and manage international migration;


to promote health and welfare of the population, and to enhance the status of specific target groups such as women, children, youth and the aged;


to strengthen population statistics. The programme contains a 3 year plan to guide the implementation of population activities for the period 1994-96;


to increase awareness about the effect of population on major economic and social issues; and


to increase the awareness and the use of family planning methods.

Recent studies indicate that the Gambians are well informed about family planning, but its use conflicts with traditional beliefs, especially for those who see large families as an asset. Efforts are being made to influence individual and family behaviour through information, education and communication.

2.2 Economy The first 10 years of independence saw broadly stable macro-economic conditions with modest rates of economic growth. However, from 1970 until 1985-1986, The Gambia faced severe economic and financial problems with a low real GDP growth, high unemployment, rapid increase of prices, uneven distribution of income, and rise of external debts. The Government introduced an Economic Recovery Program (ERP) in the year 1985 to overcome the depression. This program stressed on increasing public investment in all industrial areas and promoting participation of large-scale privately owned capital by encouraging adequate investment into the economy. Through the ERP the Government liberalised trade, price policy, and the exchange rate, reduced public expenditure through removal of subsidies, and privatisation of public enterprises. In the late eighties The Gambia’s economic and financial performance improved dramatically. The Gambia’s ERP programme is counted as one of the success stories in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Building on the success of the ERP, in 1992 the Government launched the Program for Sustained Development (PSD). The PSD was designed to strengthen the economic structure initiated in the ERP, expand long-term productivity with emphasis on environmental protection, and reinforce activities of the private sector. Economic Activities The Gambian economy is open market oriented, with very limited natural resources. It is classified as one of the least developed countries in the world. With a per capita income of about US$ 360, the backbone of the Gambian economy is agriculture dominated by groundnut. However, through the diversification policy of the Government in recent years, much attention is now given to sectors such as tourism and manufacturing. About 2/3 of the population derive their income from agricultural farming. However, food deficits have persisted and food imports increased significantly between 1985/86 and 1989/90. The rapid increase in population and its movement from rural to urban areas aggravated the situation. The growing population has exerted pressure on agricultural land which is about 4,300 km², leading to more intensive cultivation resulting in a depletion of soil and hence lower cover crop yields. Rural-urban migration has created scarcity of farm labour because the majority of the migrants are young persons who are normally active in the agricultural sector. It also increases the size of the non-food producing urban population, which at the same time requires more land for settlements and infrastructure. In 1994/95, crop production increased to its highest level in the last five years with a value added in of 11.4%. This is mainly attributed to the increased production in agricultural crops (groundnuts, and others). During 1994/95 the value added in agricultural crop production at constant 1976/77 prices increased by 14.4%.


There has been a decline in revenue generated by the tourism industry in 1994/95 compared with previous years, especially with 1993/94. During the period 1994/95 the value added in hotels and restaurants decreased by 60% (for more details see chapter on tourism). Trade contributes about 20% to the GDP. This implies a reduction in trade contribution due to lower activity in the trading of commodities excluding groundnuts (the value added in decreased by 2.9%). Reduction of the Government investment in local projects led to a reduction of the contribution of construction to the GDP. There has been a minor reduction in manufacturing industries mainly due to the reduced production by small-scale manufacturers. The Gambia is already facing a severe problem of unemployment. Nearly 8% of the economically active population are unemployed, and this has been aggravated by the ruralurban drift and international migration.

2.3 Infrastructure Roads The road network of The Gambia has a West-East linear configuration linking all of the country's major communities and agricultural areas located in the north and south banks of the River Gambia (RG). Traffic volumes on the road network vary by location from 100-600 vehicles per day on primary roads in the rural areas, to over 7,000 on the Banjul/Serrekunda highway. Traffic congestion remains prevalent throughout the Greater Banjul area where much of the country's commercial and industrial activities are concentrated. The road network of The Gambia is about 2,570 km long in total, and is classified according to function, consisting of primary, secondary and feeder roads, all of which are either paved (500 km), gravelled (1,070 km), or earth roads (1,000 km). The proposed Kombo coastal roads project will increase the paved portion of the road network by approximately 103 km. Ports The Gambia has two ports, the main one in Banjul, and a small one, Kaur port, as described below. The ports of The Gambia are managed and run by the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) which is an autonomous public agency. The ports are very important to the Gambia economy as revenue generating institutions, and the points of entry/arrival of most of the essential goods (such as rice and sugar) consumed in the country. This is because The Gambia imports over 50% of its food and 100% of its fuel. The ports are also used for exporting Gambian products (groundnuts). Table 11. Freight traffic, exports and imports, in tonnes (Source: GPA)

Year Imports Dry cargo Petroleum products Exports Dry cargo Groundnut oil Total







319,848 49,984

269,024 54,438

282,423 59,916

432,109 60,033

443,004 68,037

44,053 6,372

27,324 6,040

40,811 4,418

26,416 3,581

29,086 2,382






The Banjul port is located in the eastern side of the Banjul city, on the river Gambia, and is the primary shipping centre of the country. The shipping pattern in this port is characterised by ships in liner service (carrying containers in addition to a portion of general cargo, bagged cargo, vehicles, and steel products), and tramp vessels (carrying commodities in bags), in addition to a number of cruise and fishing vessels. Today, the Banjul Port has a total open storage area of 22,095 m², and two transit sheds with total surface of 4,260 m². However, the proposed third port project envisages the construction of a new and larger container freight station, the extension of the new public jetty head by 177 m in length and 24 m in width, and dredging of the inner berth of the wharf. The above proposal was put forward because of the expected increase in freight traffic at the port. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) carried out on the project showed that the above projects would not have any significant impact on the existing environment around the port area. Airport The Gambia has only one airport, located 24 km south-east of the capital, Banjul. It therefore serves as a gateway to and from the country and the sub-region, as flights from London, Brussels and Geneva connect the country with Europe, whilst regional carrier flights link Banjul with Dakar in the north, and Freetown, Conakry, Abidjan, Accra, Lagos and Bamako in the south. The airport is managed and run by the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), an autonomous public agency responsible for air traffic control and licensing. The airport has a runway of 3,600 m with airfield lighting aids. The scheduled passenger traffic at the airport increased from 38,000 in 1981 to 91,000 in 1991. During the same period, the non-scheduled tourist traffic increased from 33,000 to 110,000, thus the total terminal passenger traffic handled at the airport increased from 71,000 to 201,000. During this same period the total number of scheduled and non-scheduled airport movements increased from 1,754 to 4,616. The freight traffic also increased from 777 tonnes to 2,430 in the same period. Due to the continuous and expected increase in the scheduled, non-scheduled and freight traffic at the airport, the Government has embarked on a project to build a new and larger airport building. It is expected that new airport facilities will be able to handle any future increase in traffic, especially the non-scheduled tourist traffic. Electricity The Utilities Holdings Company (UHC), an autonomous public agency, is the sole supplier of electricity in The Gambia. It supplies electricity mainly to the Greater Banjul area (Banjul and environs) because the electricity supply has not reached the provinces or rural areas yet. However, a project has been proposed for rural electrification for which a feasibility study has already been carried out. The single source of electric power for the Greater Banjul Area is the Kotu power plant. The installed capacity of the power station is 21.7 MW, and the recorded peak demand was 16.5 MW (1993). Two generators at the plant are currently out of order and require replacement thus reducing the capacity to 12.6 MW which is well below the peak demand. This causes a lot of inconvenience as it leads to rationing of electricity supply. This rationing results in blackout and load shedding in the Greater Banjul Area. To mitigate the effects or inconvenience of the load shedding or the complete lack of electricity, hotels and some residencies in the Greater Banjul and rural areas buy stand-by generators to enhance their electricity supply.


Water Supply UHC is also responsible for the water supply in The Gambia. In the Greater Banjul Area, 97% of the population reportedly has access to safe drinking water. In rural areas the percentage is 50. Water supply is obtained from about 31 boreholes with a total nominal capacity of 6.6 mgd (343 litres/second). Raw water is treated at the Sukuta Treatment Works (capacity 4.8 mgd), and the Serekunda Treatment Works (capacity 1.2 mgd). The treated water is pumped into a ring transmission main feeding elevated storage tanks at Sukuta, Bakoteh, Sere Kanifing, Latrikunda, Fajikunda, Banjul and Mile 2, as well as a spur at Yundum and Lamin. Brikama is supplied from two boreholes with a nominal capacity of 0.6 mgd. Telecommunications The Gambia Telecommunications Company Limited (GAMTEL) is an autonomous public body responsible for telecommunications in the country. The telecommunications network has undergone considerable upgrading in the past decade, and as a result is considered one of the best in Africa because of its efficiency. The Gambia has an earth station, with about 3,500 telephone lines (1993). Most telecommunications equipment is in Banjul and the North Kombo District, the location of most urban residence and tourist facilities. Gamtel also offers fax services, telex and mobile phones to the public, which all help make communications easy and efficient, both locally and internationally. Gamtel manages a national radio station which is a very important communication tool in the country. Gamtel is also in the process of establishing a television station. Liquid Waste Disposal Most of the liquid waste generated in The Gambia is in the form of domestic and industrial waste discharges. In the city of Banjul, about 2,000 households have been connected to the sewerage system which was commissioned in 1989. About 5,400 m³/day of untreated sewage and domestic liquid waste is pumped out to the sea via the sea outfall-pipe. Apart from sewage, all other forms of domestic waste enter the system. The waste is dumped into the estuary, near the Bund road. Preliminary studies carried out guarantee a good primary dilution and diffusion of sewage. It is believed that the autopurification of the sea at the point where the 950 m outfall pipe discharges, is sufficient to cope with the sewage load from Banjul. A study on the short-term effects of the system on faecal coliform concentration around the periphery of the outfall has confirmed this assumption (Sissoho, 1993). It has been noted that the original dump site at the Bund road had lower faecal concentration after the relocation of the dump site. The original concentration of 474/100 mls has decreased to 124/100 mls after 1990. At the Tourism Development Area, where a number of hotels are located, about 1805 m³/day of liquid waste is generated at average. The quantity and composition vary depending on the time of the year. The waste is collected in an oxidation pond at Kotu where it is discharged into other ponds prior to it being discharged into the Kotu stream. Other forms of liquid waste are generated by local industries and power stations all over the country. Most of the industries discharge their effluent into the river or estuary. Banjul Breweries discharge about 1.5 million litres/month, and the only form of treatment is regulation of PH to between 6-8.


Solid Waste Disposal Solid waste is collected from residential, commercial, market and recreational areas, offices and institutions such as schools, hospitals, fish and poultry processing industries, hotels, etc. Constituents include food leftovers, paper, construction wastes, grass and other cuttings. About 14.8 tons/day of refuse are collected in Banjul, and 57.4 from the Kombo St. Mary area, 7.0 tons of which by composers and 12.4 by tippers. Waste generation rate is 0.35 kg/cap/day for Banjul, and 0.25 at the Kanifing municipality (KMC). Disposal site for Banjul is at Mile 2, whereas KMC, which is responsible for disposal in the Kombo area, uses the Bakoteh quarry about 12 km from Banjul. In the rural areas, disposal of solid waste is usually by burning, while waste from plants and animals are sometimes used as fertilisers or composted. The landfill site at Bakoteh. At present, all domestic refuse from Kombo Saint Mary is disposed in a large abandoned quarry at Bakoteh. The site is located 500 to 1,000 m east of the Kotu stream course, in an area which is becoming increasingly populated. The quarry has been excavated to about 2-3 m below the natural ground surface. The site is unlined, and waste appears to be deposited without compacting or spreading of waste in layers, or the subsequent covering of each layer with soil. The nearest public boreholes are some 200 m from the site, and dug wells, which local people use for domestic and drinking purposes, are much closer (about 100 to 300 m). The health hazard resulting from the exposed waste is high.

2.4 Social Services Education Despite the net enrolment rising to 43.6% for primary schools and 16% for secondary schools, the number of children remaining out of school has increased. The increasing need for boys to help on the farm, and girls to look after babies and assist their mothers during pregnancies leads to their being kept out of school. Major school construction (primary, secondary and high), and the rehabilitation programmes going on through the country are meant to take care of the problems faced by the education sector. Despite this the female enrolment ratio remains much lower compared to that of males. Health Care Increase in the population strained the health services and increased the risk group i.e. children under 5, and women in child bearing age groups. Population per doctor is 15,269, while population per hospital bed is 916 (1990). In the rural areas the running of medical facilities is adversely affected by the difficulties encountered in retaining medical personnel who may be under pressure to move to urban areas.

2.5 System of Settlements/Villages The system of settlements in the coastal zone, apart from those demarcated and allocated by the state, is similar to the pattern of settlements in other parts of the country. This pattern is primarily based on customary land tenure practices. In the coastal zone, villages are founded by a family or a number of families. Within these families, the head of the family is nominated to take care of allocations and matters of immediate concern to the community. This head is called the Alkalo. Upon the founding of a village by these families, land is first allocated for housing, paying due regard to open areas for 33

roads, prayer and burial grounds, and in almost all cases, a Bantaba where elders meet during the day for discussions, as well as social and sport gatherings. No family can claim ownership to these public places. After the founding and settlement of the village by the founding families or Alkalo, and the allocation of the land as described above, other settlers in search of land can be catered for. These settlers must choose one of the families as their host. The host family will allocate portion of land for settlement purposes, or seek consent from existing founding families or the Alkalo to allocate land for homes and for agricultural purpose, if the new settlers have the intention to remain in the village. Such a gift is regarded as conferring permanent ownership to the new settlers who will exercise the same rights over such land. After the whole available land has been thus allocated both for settlement and farming, the village is then said to be fully settled. Apart from the above processes, the system of settlement in the coastal zone may, to some extent, be influenced by occupational considerations and requirements. For example, the Ghana town near the Brufut village is developed as an exclusively fishing settlement. Similarly, the development of other settlements may have been necessitated by the need for close proximity to particular coastal zone resources; for example in the case of Bijilo which may have been influenced by sand mining activities.




3.1 Introduction The origins of tourism in The Gambia go back to 1964 when Scandinavian tour-operators launched a five year charter flight program. They offered modest package tours for low and middle income tourists attracted by winter “sun, sea and sand” combined with exotic cultural environment. At its beginning tourism was confined to the capital of Banjul with a total of 200bed capacity in two unclassified hotels. In the 1970s tourism in The Gambia boomed. The Government promoted tourism development plan extending tourism area into the peri-urban coastal strip south of Cape St. Mary, in the Kotu region. This project, known as Tourism Development Area (TDA) was supported by UNDP, while infrastructural expansion was partly financed by IDA. Several large beach hotels were constructed with foreign capital during this phase. There was a corresponding sharp increase in tourist accommodation capacity from 200 to 2,600 units in the year 1970/71. At present, there are around 6,000 beds. According to the National Tourism Policy there is a clear need for expansion of the current hotel bed capacity. An increase is planned of the hotel accommodation space from the 6,000 figure of 1993/94 to 10,000 by the year 2000. This is to be achieved by constructing at least two more 4/5 star hotels in the beach strip (Policy).

3.2 Tourism Earnings The Gambia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was nearly 3 billion Dalasi (D) in 1991/92 (US$ 324 million), giving its 920,000 population a per capita GDP, at market prices, of approximately US$ 352. Agriculture, trade and tourism are the driving forces of the Gambian economy. In 1992/93 tourism was undergoing a significant uplift, but the trade sector was hit by political difficulties with Senegal, and by the devaluation of the CFA Franc. Also agriculture, including groundnuts and fisheries is in a hesitant state. Table 12. Arrival of air charter tourists by nationality for the period 1990/91 to 1993/94 (Source: Central Statistics Department, Banjul)

British French Swedish Danish Finnish Norwegian German Belgian American Swiss Others

163,000 12,300 28,100 11,700 4,700 4,800 27,900 4,900 2,100 4,300 14,000





160000 140000 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 20000

Swedish French

German Others

Danish Finnish Norwegian

Belgian American Swiss



Two years later the British Government reacted to the military take-over by stopping aid to The Gambia and issuing a negative travel advice. Since the British market share in the period 1990/91 to 1993/94 reached almost 60%, the tourism industry after July 1994 virtually collapsed. Air-charter tourists (of which there were around 66,000, 64,000 and 90,000 in years 1991/92, 1992/93 and 1993/94 respectively) are estimated to spend around US$ 26 million in The Gambia. This expenditure is actually “out of pocket” expenditure by tourists and excludes the cost of the package (which is paid to tour operators in Europe). Average daily expenditure is calculated at US$ 33 while the average length of stay for the air-chartered tourists is 12 days. Table 13. The breakdown of the “out of pocket” expenditure, quarter April to June 1993 Source: Central Statistics Department, Banjul

Food and Drinks Taxis Organised Tours Souvenirs Others

59% 3% 18% 16% 4%

In addition, there are other visitors (mostly businessmen) who appear to spend nearly as much as air-chartered tourists. So the total tourist spending for the peak years was around US$ 50 million (Brown). According to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the tourism industry has grown at the rate of 5%, while direct and indirect benefits are estimated at around 12% of the GDP. At the same time, the GDP annual growth rate went down from 3.5% to 2.1%. Table 14. Occupancy rate of the hotels in The Gambia, quarter January to March 1994 (Source: Central Statistics Department, Banjul)

No. of beds available Total guest nights possible Total guest nights spent Occupancy rate

3,989 359,041 237,342 66.1 %

3.3 Tourism Employment Employment in tourism and tourism-related activities is frequently quoted at 7,000. Estimates vary widely from a total of 6,000 to figures such as 3,000 direct employment and 15,000 indirect employment. In addition, job generation for unskilled, artisanal and medium-level employment, involving around 10% of the labour force, facilitated the amelioration of the earning capacities of a number of households in the peri-urban centres adjacent to the Tourism Development Area (Brown, Policy).


The Gambian Tourism Weaknesses and Strengths (Source: D J Jeffries Associates)

Product Strengths 1.

Acceptable inward air services which are increasingly bringing the main gateways to the region and to The Gambia


A mix of international hotels at a range of prices and standards from “5 star” to “2 star”


A large number and variety of restaurants and bars


A fair range of river and inland excursions of short duration


Relative absence of restrictions and formalities, e.g. currency exchange


Efficient telecommunications

Product Weaknesses 1.

Inadequate airport terminal (the new one is being built)


Minimal waterborne and riverside facilities


Poor and declining standards of services in a number of hotels and restaurants


Erratic services due to unreliable utilities supplying electricity and water

Environment – Strengths 1.

Guaranteed winter sun


African landscape which is relatively lush and green, offering varied flora, outstanding bird life and some animal life of interest to tourists


Gentle and tolerant attitudes of the general population


Interesting and colourful scenes of rural and village life

Environment – Weaknesses 1.

Health risks and need for preventative medication


Desolation and squalor of Banjul shop areas


Harassment of tourists by a minority of opportunists and delinquents

Transport Infrastructure – Strengths 1.

Well surfaced main roads between the existing focal points of tourism in The Gambia

Transport Infrastructure – Weaknesses 1.

Little or no infrastructure for riverborne or riverside tourism

3.4 Socio-economic Implications of the Tourism Development Main issues and impacts related to the tourism development, identified by the National Tourism Policy and relevant for the integrated coastal area management in The Gambia, have been the following: 1. Faster quantitative growth than qualitative development. As tourist number rose, provision of more accommodation space in the form of hotels was the main development objective. The sun, sea and sand image was deemed as natural phenomena that required no special 37

qualitative improvements. This also refers to the inadequacy of the infrastructure (power, water, sewerage, street lighting) which is to be improved in the near future to enable the planned expansion of the tourism industry. 2. Relatively small proportions of a sizeable economic return are derived by the Gambians or reinvested in the industry. The package tour mode of tourism continues to impose economic disbalance in the share ratio of benefits that are enjoyed by foreign investors and hotel operators on one hand, and local services and suppliers, entrepreneurs and the Government on the other. In addition, expatriates are hired in hotels, which reduces possibilities for employment of local managerial staff (this problem is closely related to the scarcity of trained Gambian human resources at management and intermediate levels). 3. Gambian tourism product can be further diversified by expanding the role of the River Gambia and inland attractions (river cruising). Besides, the tourist season can be extended so that The Gambia can be seen as an all year round destination. 4. Some negative cultural effects have resulted from the exposure of the Gambian society to the behaviour of the European tourists. Young female and male prostitution rose as a result of contacts with foreign tourists. In addition, hard drugs began entering The Gambia for local consumption. 5. Gambian tourism is overdependant on some markets (in particular British) with the associated high sensitivity of the industry to exogenous media/publicity shocks and internal instability. 6. Land-use planning and development control issues, as well as visual quality of the majority of the existing developed area of the TDA detract from the image of The Gambia as a tourist destination. As pointed out by Brown and Root, the weaknesses of land-use planning in the TDA are only small part of a much broader problem affecting the Greater Banjul Area (the topic of the management and utilisation of the TDA is covered more in detail in the chapter on Land-use Planning and Development Control).



Land-Use Planning and Development Control

4.1 Land-Use Planning Although some parts of the Gambian coast are severely affected by human activities, most of it is still ecologically intact. However, due to the fact that the southern coastal region is attracting population, and competition is increasing over the allocation and use of coastal land, an efficient land-use planning and development control system has become an urgent need. Land-use planning in the coastal area has to accomplish, among others, two important objectives: •

to further elaborate standards of use and management for environmentally sensitive areas established in future coastal management plan; and

to provide guidelines for physical development on buildable land.

The first step in this direction was the Tourism Development Area (TDA) which was legally designated in 1970 under the Ministry of Local Government and Kombo North\South Authority Act as a half-mile zone along the Atlantic coast spreading from the Kotu river in the North down to the Tanji River initially, and subsequently extending down to River Allahein on the Senegalese Border. The TDA thus excludes the significant areas developed for tourism around Fajara, Bakau, Cape Point and Banjul. The land within the TDA was leased by the Government from the customary owners and the lease is held by the Ministry of Local Government and Lands. Physical Planning in the TDA is formulated on the basis of the original Bafuloto Plan of 1973 (SWECO/MLGL). The plan aimed to promote the development of the Atlantic coast of The Gambia for the dual purposes of tourism and urban development. The TDA was to be reserved for tourist resort and related development, whilst the area inland from the coast and separated from it by the highway (the Badala Parkway) was to be for urban development. The Plan proposed three clusters of hotels to accommodate 3,750 beds in the Kotu Area and another three near Brufut with 3,500 beds. The hotel clusters were to be surrounded by substantial green areas which were to remain free from development and thus preserve the green and open character of the coastline. The Physical Development Plan for the Greater Banjul Area which was formally adopted by the Government (1988), re-states the Bafuloto Plan principles: “The coastal strip should be kept from all physical developments other than hotels and compatible uses and related leisure facilities (including nature reserves like Bijilo forest park). Any new facilities should be grouped together with park-like areas in between; this arrangement is a touristic asset which gives The Gambia a comparative advantage over similar international beach resorts which are often too densely built-up and intruded by private settlements reducing accessibility and free movement”. Initial land allocation in the TDA was made on the basis of the original Bafuloto study, and the three “Clusters” at Kotu Strand, Kotu Point and Kotu Beach duly developed. However, the Tourism Liaison Board (TLB) and its successor, the Tourism Area Development Board (TADB) increasingly ignored the planning framework for the TDA and allocated land for hotels and 39

related developments in the open areas between the clusters with the result that the gaps between the clusters were all but closed. By early 1989, hotels providing 1921 beds were operating or under construction in the Kotu Area of the TDA, with land allocated to developers for a further 5,258 beds. If implemented in full this would result in a density of development in the Kotu Area of about twice that which was envisaged in the original Bafuloto study. In reality, the construction of hotels in the TDA did not keep pace with the allocation of land, indicating that the TLB and TADB were responding to speculative pressures rather than to market demand in their land allocation decisions. The response to this situation arrived in 1989 with the preparation of the Physical Development Plan for the Tourism Development Area under the urban Development Planning Project which sought: •

to revise the existing plans for the Kotu Area and the Brufut Area taking into consideration the latest development of tourism, the present proposed projects as well as the recent forecasts for future development; and

to elaborate a general concept of the physical development of the tourism area along the whole Southern Coast from the Kotu River down to the boundary of Senegal, including general guidelines for urban design in the TDA.

This GTZ Plan, prepared jointly by the Ministry for Local Government and Lands and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit, sought essentially to re-emphasise the principles of the Bafuloto Study whilst also taking into account the downward revision of the maximum number of hotel beds required in the TDA. There was a forecast that the maximum number of hotel beds needed in the TDA would be only 3,720, thereby suggesting that only 1,800 beds were required in addition to those existing when the 1989 plan was issued. It distinguished between a northern zone where the main tourism development would take place within clearly defined areas (such as the Kotu area, and subsequently Bijilo and Brufut), and a southern zone where there would be only small “tourist spots” for excursions and short-term visits . The concentration of development in the northern zone (Kotu-Bijilo-Brufut) was also judged to imply a far lower infrastructural investment than developing the whole coast. The “tourist spots” planned within the southern nature park would all be self-sufficient sites accessed by earth roads requiring low construction and maintenance costs. It was stressed that private investment should remain concentrated at Kotu, before the area at Bijilo is opened for development. It was anticipated that all the planned development could be accommodated at Kotu and Bijilo, and that development at Brufut would only be permitted if: •

both Kotu and Bijilo were fully developed to target levels;

growth of tourism had passed the projected levels; and

sufficient water supply sources had been identified.

The recently allocated areas did not correspond to the original Bafuloto plan, and when fully developed, the Kotu Zone will become congested and overcrowded and will lose its original attractiveness characterised by the contrast between the nucleus of modern hotels and open spaces in between. One consequence of the poorly planned and uncoordinated release of land in response to land speculation, and the lack of adequate financial guarantees, is the construction of unsightly concrete walls and chain-link fences around allocated land in the areas originally proposed as buffer zones and the presence of unfinished and abandoned hotel development. This, combined with the poor condition of the spur road, litter and other amenity problems, creates a very rundown and shabby outlook on the seafront at the Kotu Point cluster.


In an effort to forestall the deterioration in quality which would be the inevitable result if all the allocated land were to be developed, the GTZ plan included a provision for the re-entry of undeveloped plots in accordance with the conditions of the leases granted to developers and speculators. The plan also required detailed layout plans for the different areas of the TDA to be marked out prior to further development being undertaken. There is no evidence that any of the GTZ Plan recommendations have been implemented, and some activities of the TADB have been in direct conflict with the Plan: •

the continued presence of abandoned half-finished hotels in the Kotu Area and the failure to re-enter land in accordance with the lease conditions;

the continued allocation of land outside the cluster area and encroachment on the “buffer” zones;

uncoordinated allocation of land for tourism development in the southern areas of the TDA despite the restrictions set out in the GTZ Plan and the requirement to complete development in the Kotu Area before further development proceeds elsewhere; and

approval of leases for cafes, shops and other uses, often on “buffer” land, which fail to meet the urban design guidelines set in the Plan.

The Planning response to the activities of the TADB in the TDA has been almost wholly reactive. A recent revision to the TDA Physical Development Plan (a map rather than policies), merely records the known land allocations by the TADB in the TDA and presents this as a “plan”. This reaction, which apparently includes no intention to enforce the provisions of the original plan, is a reflection of the virtual absence of planning and land use control in the TDA and, indeed, in the whole Greater Banjul Area.

4.2 Development Control Under present arrangements, the administration of state lands and the planning and control of development are closely linked in The Gambia. Under the State Lands Act of 1990, all land in Banjul and Kombo St Mary (excluding very limited areas under freehold tenure) is owned by the state. Land use and the physical development of land are thus controlled, at least in theory, primarily through the granting of leases by the state, and by imposing conditions on such leases. Outside state lands, no formal mechanism is currently in force to control the physical development of land. Within the Tourism Development Area, applications for leases are submitted to the Ministry of Tourism. Applications are forwarded to the Tourism Area Development Board (TADB) which advises the minister. Instructions on the issue of leases are passed to the Director of Lands and Surveys. The Board comprises the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism (Chairman), the Permanent Secretary (MLGL), and representatives of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment, the National Investment Promotion Authority, the National Tourism Office, and the Chamber of Commerce. Originally, the TADB was supported by a technical sub-committee which included the Director of Planning, and the Director of Lands and Surveys. This sub-committee no longer meets, the consequence of this being that the TADB has no institutionalised means of receiving technical, land administration, physical planning or environmental advice on the applications which it receives. 41

Advice may be sought if the members consider it appropriate, but this does not occur. Leases have been granted for hotel developments in the TDA with neither the Physical Planning and Housing Department nor the Lands and Surveys Department being aware that the application had been submitted. Given this situation, it is hardly surprising that decisions on land allocation in the TDA in the last 5-6 years have had little or no regard for the approved development plan for the Greater Banjul Area and non-statutory planning documents such as the 1989 Physical Development Plan for the TDA. The new Physical Planning and Development Control Act was gazetted in 1991, but detailed regulations required to operate the legislation have been approved only recently. The Act would introduce a new Physical Planning Board, Planning Authorities for each division (parallel to the Lands Administration Boards) and a Development Control Committee for each planning authority. A development permit is required for operational development of land and for changes of use, subject to the regulations. Efficient operation of this system, backed by appropriate enforcement measures, would introduce planning control which, for the first time, would be independent of the land allocation system, and which would apply equally to land held in all types of tenure (freehold, leasehold and customary).



Coastal Erosion

The Gambia coastline is characterised by a series of embayment, with long sandy beaches and rocky headlands that protrude seawards. The headlands are low and composed of nodular or pisolitic laterite and sandstone rocks, large blocks of which are commonly found broken off and scattered over the foreshore area.

5.1 Coastal Erosion Rates and Critical Sites Coastline erosion has been documented as he most serious environmental hazard of the Gambian coast. The rate of erosion of the Gambian coast has been estimated at 1 to 2 metres per year at average, amounting to a land loss averaging 2.5 to 3 ha of land per year, or 200300,000 m³/year (Delft Hydraulics, 1992). Though erosion is a major environmental problem, erosion rates of the relatively harder rocks at the headlands are lower, averaging about 0.5 m/yr. This was confirmed by comparison of earlier aerial photographs showing the position of the coastline from 1964 to 1982. In some places where there are cliffs, recession was measured at 1 metre per year. The cliff recession is caused by the effect of run-off on the cliff slope and the impact of wave action at the bottom of the cliff. The sandy beaches common to the Gambian coastline consist of unconsolidated material and are therefore susceptible to effects of wave and tidal forces. The situation had been worsened by the uncontrolled sand mining at Kololi, and later at Bijilo, where we estimated an annual removal of 150,000 to 200,000 m³ of sand for the construction industry.

5.2 Specific Areas of Erosion Along the Gambian Coast Cape Point to Banjul Dockyard Between the Banjul Point and the Dockyard Point the prevailing drift direction is southward. However, the drift direction has been interrupted by a series of harbour structures. While accretion is noticeable on the updrift side, erosion has been pronounced on the downdrift side especially at the ferry terminal and south of it (Barrow, 1991). Between Banjul and the Toll Point the predominant drift direction is eastward. This has led to the development of a sand spit at the Toll point. Delft Hydraulics (1983) estimated that between 50,000 and 75,000 m³/year have been accumulating here since 1983. Most of this sand derived from sediments eroded from the area between the Palm Grove Hotel and the Muslim cemetery where beach erosion rates of 1520 m were reported between 1964 and 1982 (Barrow, 1991). About 30 m of beach at the Muslim cemetery have been lost to erosion since 1964. Around the Atlantic hotel, the retreat was about 10 m between 1964 and 1982. Presently only a very narrow strip of land remains to the Banjul-Serekunda dual highway. Cape Point to Bald Cape The coastline between the Cape Point and the Bald Cape is composed of many beach embayments bounded by headlands and cliff formations. The cliff base is composed of ferrugeneous sandstone underlying laterite soils and perched sand dunes. Considerable cliff erosion is occurring at the Cape Saint Mary resulting in cliff failures. Similar cliff failures are noticeable at Fajara cliffs threatening the expensive villas and governmental residential buildings. Erosion rates of between 20 and 40 m were recorded between 1964 and 1982 along the beach between the Koto and Kololi points. Between the Kololi Point and the Bald Cape shoreline recession has been noted to vary from 40 to 50 m over the past 26 years. Between 43

the Kololi Point and the Bijilo beach erosion and beach mining since 1985 have resulted in beach retreating, threatening many coastal and tourist facilities. Only the beach between the Bijilo beach and Kartong has been relatively stable. However the area is highly susceptible to erosion.

5.3 Effects of Coastal Erosion Physical Structures Coastal erosion is probably the most devastating environmental hazard along the Gambian coast, destroying tourist facilities, cultural and historic sites and buildings. The most affected part along the Gambian coast is the Banjul Muslim cemetery. Here, coastal erosion has resulted in the loss of some 30 m of land since 1964 with many tombs under the sea and many skeletons washed away on the beach. The government houses at Fajara, situated on the cliffs are now being threatened by erosion. Within the Palm Grove Hotel, north of the St. Mary, erosion has washed away large areas resulting in the loss of the beach behind the hotel with waves threatening the foundations of the hotel. South of the Palm Grove Hotel erosion has destroyed many commercial and private facilities, and presently the building of the Radio Syd is under the attack of the waves The area south of the Fajara cliffs to and beyond the Kololi Point represents a major tourism infrastructure consisting of hotels, beach and recreational facilities. Comparison of 1964 and 1982 aerial photographs of this beach reveals a coastal retreat of 1-2 m/yr. for the past twenty years. Between the Kololi Point and the Bald Cape, the erosion rate varies from 40 to 50 m for the past 26 years. Land loss The Gambian coastline is only 80km long with many very narrow beaches, and coastal erosion has resulted in significant loss of those areas. The annual loss of land along the coast is estimated at 2.5 to 3.0 ha. Flooding Coastal erosion has resulted in the washing away of the buffer zones which once acted as barriers to the low lying coastal plain behind the beaches. These coastal plains are depressions lying, in some cases, at the sea level. During high tides many of these areas are flooded, especially during high tides. In 1957, presumably as a result of the coastal erosion taking place north of the St. Mary's Island (Banjul and vicinity), exceedingly severe flooding during spring tides caused serious damage to the then new Muslim Cemetery, the Radio Syd, and westwards for a distance of about 1 km. The boulder stone pitching which was used to protect the cemetery from erosion was washed away, and in some areas the cliffs were eroded landwards by up to 10 m. The new Banjul-Serekunda highway, which was opened to traffic in 1990, is now less than 50 m from the water mark and prone to severe flooding. Sea water intrusion Groundwater is the main source of water supply in The Gambia. Many of the bore holes are very close to the shoreline. Land loss resulting from coastal erosion results in saline water encroaching on land. This could cause salt water to pollute the ground water. Socio-economic activities Coastal erosion has very adverse impacts on the socio-economic life of The Gambia in the areas of tourism, fisheries, housing, industry, agriculture and mining. However, the most important are fisheries and tourism. Six fish landing and processing facilities have been constructed in Brufut, Tanji, Bato Kunku/Tujereng, Sanyang, Gunjur and Kartong. Total investments at the six landing sites are 44

estimated at US$ 0.64 million. The fishing infrastructure at Tanji and Brufut site seems more seriously affected, and suffers in particular from increased erosion. It has been estimated that about one third of these facilities are threatened by coastal erosion. Tourism has become an important source of income to The Gambia. Tourism infrastructure along the coast is the most valuable real estate found in the coastal area. Fifteen modern hotels have been built along the coast. Of these, four major hotels are along the coast between Banjul and Cape St. Mary, while the more recent hotels were built on the Atlantic coast down from Cape St. Mary. A number of these hotels face serious beach erosion problems, and in most cases the beaches in front of the hotels have been reduced by at least half. In some cases, like the Palm Grove and Tropical Gardens hotels, the beach has already disappeared. In assessing the damage caused by coastal erosion to the tourism industry it should be noted that tourists to The Gambia are principally attracted by sunny beaches. Unfortunately the hotels are mostly built in a close proximity to the shoreline that is subject to considerable erosion. While physical damage to the hotels has been limited to a falling fence, destruction of beach bars and possibly sea water entering the facilities during spring tide, it may be expected that tourists will turn away from these hotels if they no longer have access to an appropriate beach.

5.4 Causes of Coastal Erosion Anthropogenic Causes Sand Mining The Gambia is in its development stage. To this end, there is a lot of infrastructural and housing development taking place. This development is however achieved at a cost to the coastal area environment because all construction works in The Gambia require sand, and the sand used is mainly mined from our beaches (coastal area/Tourism Development Area – TDA). Until 1985, sand for construction works was mined from the quarry site near Kololi. Between 1985 and 1995, sand for construction works was mined from the Bijilo quarry site. According to records from the Ministry of Trade about 100,000 to 150,000 m³/year was mined from the Bijilo sand mining site. This is about half of the annual erosion volume due to natural processes as outlined above. As such, it considerably contributes to the present degradation of the coastal environment and constitutes a further sink in the coastal sediment balance . Dredging There is no record of dredging causing or aggravating coastal erosion in any significant way in The Gambia. This is because most of the dredging recorded in The Gambia took place either at the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) ship terminal or at the ferry services terminal, and the quantities involved are usually small. E.g., in the upcoming third port expansion project, there is a proposal to expand the new public jetty which will however require some dredging. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out on the project revealed that the volume of sediments to be dredged is less than 20,000 m³, and that the project would not generate significant impact to the natural environment or the surrounding wetlands. Deforestation There is no record of the extent to which deforestation may have caused coastal erosion. However there are instances in which deforestation was thought to have contributed or aggravated coastal erosion in The Gambia. For example, between 1980 and 1990, when there was a boom in the construction industry as a result of tourism development, there was a widespread removal of the natural vegetation cover and dune formations to create building space thus rendering the coast more vulnerable to natural erosion.


Natural Causes Intensive wave and tidal action The Gambian coast is affected by northerly to north-westerly swell regimes which are more dominant during the dry season. The NW swell is thus the main factor controlling the regional coastal morphology. It induces a major south-going sedimentary transit owing to the general coast orientation. However, the west-east oriented coast between the Cape St Mary and Banjul, experiences an east-going littoral drift which is strengthened by the flood dominated tidal flows running close to the shore. These two mechanisms thus promote a littoral drift directed from the Buniada Point in the north and the Cape St. Mary in the west towards the estuary mouth which acts as a sediment sink. This is due to the fact that the Gambia estuary constitutes a drowned valley still in the process of being filled up, both from the river and the sea. To the south of the Bald Cape, the north-south coast again experiences a predominantly northsouth littoral drift, as evidenced by the distinct zeta shape of the beaches in between the various headlands. As a consequence, it may be concluded that the whole of this coastal region, for a long time now, must have been exposed to erosion owing to its natural development, as induced by the littoral regime. Estimates of the littoral drift along the open Atlantic coast have been made on the basis of the extensive spit development at the mouth of the Saloum river (Sangomar spit).This amounts to some 100,000 to 250,000 m³/year. It is estimated that the combined effects of waves and tides result in the littoral drift estimated at 200,000 to 300,000 m³ annually along the Gambian coast. Much of the sediment in the littoral drift is derived from the beaches between the Banjul Point and the Saniang Point. This results in an average erosion rate of 1 to 1.5 km/year, or 2.5 to 3.0 hectares of land annually. The Gambian coast experiences a tidal climate which is of the semi-diurnal type, with two daily maxima and minima. The tidal range around Banjul ranges between 1.60 m during spring tides and 0.7 m during neap tides. Though tidal regimes are small, large areas of the low lying coastal plain could be submerged during high tides and storms. Tidal currents, especially those generated during ebb tides, are capable of removing the fine sands out to sea. Nature of sediment The Gambian coastal zone consists of unconsolidated marine and aeolian sands. The very fine nature of the sediment makes them easily thrown in suspension and transported away. For example, a result of that is the muddy colour of the water off the shore of the St.Mary's Island (Banjul and vicinity), extending from the municipal area towards the Oyster creek. Nature of shoreline topography and configuration The 80 km long Gambian coast is composed of embayments and headlands. This coastline configuration results in the development of several cells with respective dynamic patterns. The embayments are composed of flat eaolian sands underlain in most places by Tertiary ferruginous sandstone of the “continental terminal”, which is occasionally exposed along the coast as cliffs or rocky platforms and headlands. These unconsolidated sands are very susceptible to erosion caused by wave action. To the south-west of the Cape St. Mary, there are active cliffs which border the shoreline. The soft layers of lateritic soils and perched sand dunes above the consolidated basement are subject to erosion. There is considerable cliff erosion at this point due to direct wave action which results in slope failures and landslides. Many tourist hotels, like the Tropic Garden Hotel, the African Village Hotel, and the Medical Research Council (MRC) park are now threatened by this cliff erosion.


Sea level rise Though there are no records of regional sea level rise along the Gambian coast, it is to be expected that eustatic sea level rises will aggravate the already bad erosive state along the coast. This will be more pronounced along the low lying coastal areas. At the present rate of sea level rise, the apparent loss of sediments along the Gambian coast is preliminary estimated at some 75,000 m³/year.

5.5 Past Erosion Control Measures and Assessment of Their Performance Some low scale local erosion measures have been taken at many places along the coast both by the Government and the local stakeholders. Some of these include wooden groynes, revetments, and gabion groynes. Wooden Groynes This type of groyne is the most widely used and can be seen virtually along most areas of the beach. Areas where they have been used in the past include the Radio Syd area, east of the Cape St Mary (Sunwing Hotel), north of the Cape St. Mary. At present, only scattered remains of a timber structure of the wooden groynes can be observed along the beach fronting at the Radio Syd and the Muslim cemetery. In 1977 along the beach fronting the Sunwing hotel, a scheme consisting of timber groynes (48 m long) was designed to combat erosion of the beach. Initially the scheme was found to be remarkably successful and within a very short time, sand rapidly built-up in the area. This was followed in 1983 by the construction of three additional groynes 150 m long. However, due to poor maintenance the groynes are now badly damaged and are no longer effective. Other groynes consisting of rock bricks and gabion basket filled with stones have been used to combat coastal erosion along the Gambian coast. In 1957, when the old Muslim and Christian cemeteries, as well as the Banjul-Serekunda main road suffered from flooding during spring tides, a scheme consisting of groynes constructed with rhun piles with concrete panels were constructed on the beach. However, this was found to be ineffective, and the scheme was later abandoned. Another beach erosion combating structure consists of rhun palm piles connected by timber walling and rhun palm sheet piles jetted into the sand secured to the walling by nailing. This scheme is the so-called North Shore Defence Works. From what can be observed today the scheme is no longer effective since the beach has almost disappeared. During the course of the above works however, the beach in the vicinity of mile 3 (i.e. about a mile from this point) was gravely threatened as high water at some places reached only a few metres from the Banjul-Serekunda main road. A scheme was designed to construct 14 groynes here. In this case boulder stone pitching was employed to protect the cliff, the pitching being retained by toe gabions. This work initially proved successful and erosion was brought under control. However from what can be observed today, the scheme is no longer effective. Beach nourishment From the records seen, this method of beach protection has been widely used. However, in recent years, one hotel, the Sunwing, started using this method to replenish its beach. The hotel collected 6 truck loads of beach sand down south (at a cost of D 200 per load) and put this on the beach. However, this was mainly a stop gap measure, and due to the small-scale nature of the sand used the measure was not effective. Revetments A considerable part of the port area has been stabilised by revetments consisting of rubble mound structures of laterite stones (30-40 kg). These structures seem to perform well especially along the southern bank of the Gambia estuary, south of the port. 47

In 1991 attempts were made to construct a revetment along the coast in front of the new Muslim cemetery. Approximately 30-40 kg laterite stones were dumped in front of the cliff to make a foreshore slope of between 1:1.3 and 1.2. This revetment was combined with short gabion baskets filed with lateritic stones. Unfortunately the laterite stones were scattered over the beach and the erosion of the cliff has resumed. Sea walls There is no record of sea walls being used in the past as a measure to control erosion. However, a civil engineering firm called Irishenco has proposed the building of a sea wall in the vicinity of the new Muslim cemetery. This project is being assessed by the National Environment Agency (NEA), and the working group on coastal zone management is deliberating on the efficiency of such a hard structure on the coastal environment, especially on the downdrift side. Sand bags Sand bagging arranged parallel to the beach has been used, especially by the hotels. Sand bagging had been used around the Sene Gambia hotel to protect the hotel grounds from erosion and flooding. However, since such methods are only stop gaps they were usually washed away by the waves. Offshore breakwaters There is no record of this method being used as a measure to control erosion in The Gambia.

5.6 Causes of Failure of Coastal Erosion Combating Measures It is apparent that many of the coastal erosion combating measure taken in the past along the Gambian coast have failed to solve the problem. This has been due to the following reasons: Lack of understanding of coastal processes Understanding of coastal dynamics is a prerequisite to the effectiveness of coastal erosion combating measures. Many of the erosion combating measure in The Gambia have been taken without an understanding of the coastal processes and how such measures will alter the coastal dynamics and the effects on the down drift side. Experience from various parts of the world where coastline stabilisation measures have been applied without adequate understanding of the coastal sedimentary processes, frequently show poor performance and/or early failure. In some cases, even the mitigation measures served to aggravate the very problems they were designed to solve. Along the Gambian coast, visible testimonies to the failure of stabilisation schemes (such as groynes detached from the coast) can be found, which have been applied without due regard to the coastal processes and coastal engineering background. Lack of regular maintenance The Department of Technical Services – DTS (formally Public Works Department) is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of erosion-control measures along the Gambian coast. Due to the downturn in the national economy there have been drastic reductions in funds available for erosion combating structures. This has had a negative effect on the maintenance of structures built to combat erosion. Poor construction materials The materials used for the construction of groynes, revetments, and gabion baskets usually consist of lateritic rocks which are not durable and usually disintegrate in water. The Gambia does not have any granite rocks and hence the only available lateritic stones are used. These laterite stones are porous and not very resistant to abrasion and therefore not of good quality.



Legal and Institutional Arrangements

6.1 Institutions and Their Mandates Because of the multi-sectoral nature of the issues which concern the coastal zone, several institutions are stakeholders in this particular area. Their mandates and areas of interest are wide-ranging, but their activities nonetheless all have an impact. The Gambia Ports Authority The jurisdiction of the authority is regulated by the Ports Act which provides for the establishment of the authority and for the transfer to the said authority of certain port and harbour undertakings of the Government. For the coastal zone in question, the jurisdiction of the authority covers the Port of Banjul including the shores and beaches adjoining thereto, bordered to the north by an “imaginary line drawn from the Buniada Point to the northern extremity of the Cape St. Mary, and to the south from the western extremity of the Dog Island Point to the south bank of the Madina Creek.” Within this area, the authority has the powers, under section 8(1) of the Ports Act, to: •

acquire, construct, manufacture, maintain or repair anything for the purpose of the Authority;

clean, deepen, improve or alter any port or its approaches or, if so required by the minister, any other waterway;

supply water to ships and generate and supply electricity;

control the erection and use of wharves in the area of its jurisdiction;

reclaim, excavate, enclose or raise any part of the lands vested in it; and

to prevent pollution in the Gambian waters.

The Gambia Ports Authority is also the implementing agency of several international conventions to which The Gambia is a signatory, such as the Protocol of 1978 Relating to the International Convention for The Prevention of Pollution from Ships, signed earlier in London in 1973. The Convention’s main objectives are to preserve the marine environment by achieving the complete elimination of international pollution by oil and other harmful substances, and the minimisation of accidental discharge of such substances. Banjul Port Third Development Project The Banjul Port Third Development Project will have major environmental impacts when fully implemented. The Gambia Port Authority has conducted land acquisition in a large portion of Half Die, which will result in the displacement of several inhabitants in that area. The expected dredging and land reclamation from the infrastructure development, is expected to cause a great deal of turbidity affecting significantly the surrounding marine ecosystems. The dredged material from the infrastructure development, could be contaminated by the previous industries in the surrounding area and have a high BOD value, which makes it unsuitable as construction material. The disposal of such large quantities of contaminated material should be addressed adequately.


National Environment Agency The National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) is the legal framework for the control and management of the environment and for matters connected therewith. Under Section 10 of NEMA it is stipulated that the National Environment Agency shall perform the following functions: •

implement the policies of the Council on the Environment;

liaise with the various ministries, departments and agencies of the Government on all issues relating to the environment, and ensure that environmental concerns are integrated into all spheres of national planning and project implementation;

liaise with the private sector, inter-governmental organisations, and governmental agencies of other states on all issues relating to the environment;

prepare proposals of environmental strategies for the Council;

initiate legislative proposals, standards, guidelines, and regulations in accordance with the provisions of this Act;

undertake studies, and submit reports and recommendations to the Council on such matters as are likely to have an impact on the environment; and

promote public awareness of environmental issues through gathering, analysing and disseminating information about the environment, and by publishing periodic reports on the state of the environment.

Coastal and Marine Environment Working Group The Executive Director of the Agency is empowered by NEMA, under section 16, to establish a technical working group where a matter requires specialised technical consideration. The working group would advise the Agency and carry out its duties according to the terms of reference laid down at its formation. The current coastal erosion rate of 1-2 metres annually is a major environmental problem, which has therefore warranted the creation of a multi-sectoral working group due to the complexity of the problem. The working group consequently formed, comprises the following institutions: • • • • • • • • • • •

Gambia Ports Authority; Kanifing Municipal Council; Brikama Area Council; Banjul City Council; Department of Fisheries; Department of Forestry; Geological Unit; Department of Physical Planning; Gambia Public Transport Corporation; Department of Technical Services; and National Environment Agency.

The membership of the working group has been selected to include all the major stakeholders in the coastal area. The exclusion of the National Tourist Office from the working group could be seen as a minor setback, considering the role of tourist activities and their impact on the coastal zone. The terms of reference for the working group are: •


to formulate, review and revise policies relating to all coastal, marine and fluvial activities;

to advise the National Environment Agency and the Government on matters arising on the sustainability, protection, development and monitoring of the coastal, marine and fluvial environment; and

to define and guide the work of task forces on issues that may arise relating to coastal and riverbank erosion, marine and riverine environment, sand mining, and oil spill contingency plans.

A significant achievement of the working group is the collective effort to get the sand mining transferred from the Bijilo Beach to the relict sand dunes on the outskirts of the Kartong village. nd The sand mining did actually start at Kartong on the 2 January 1996, after the initial delay caused by the construction of the access road to the demarcated mining site, and the compensation to the settlers and garden owners in the area. Geological Unit The Unit is a Government Institution mandated to regulate the right to search for, mine and process minerals, and for other purposes relating thereto in accordance with the Minerals Act. In 1994 the Minerals Act was amended in Section 2 giving a new definition to the word “minerals” to include: “Metalliferous ores, industrial minerals, and rocks such as sand, sandstone, laterite, clay, gravel, cockleshell, limestone, salt, workable deposits of ilmenite, rutile and zircon, and other substances of similar nature in their natural state which are obtainable only by mining and quarrying in the course of prospecting operations.” All mining of sand, laterite, gravel and salt, therefore, falls under the jurisdiction of the Minerals Act which is administered by the Geological Unit, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment. Also under the provisions of the said Act, the entire property in and control of minerals in, under or upon any lands in The Gambia and of all rivers, streams and water courses throughout The Gambia is declared to reside in The State, except in those cases where such control has been limited by any express grant made by the Government before the commencement of this Act. The main issue relating to this Unit within the study area is monitoring of the beaches along the Atlantic coast to prevent illegal mining. This is performed by the team of inspectors, supervised by the Unit. Their work is hampered by their grossly inadequate logistic support. With the mining transferred to Kartong, the incidents of illegal mining will certainly increase considerably, without the Monitoring Unit being able to prevent it in any significant way, unless the present poor logistic support is improved significantly. Department of Fisheries The Department administers the Fisheries Act which is to provide for the management of fisheries and the development of the fishing industry in The Gambia. The provision of infrastructure facilities for the fishing industry is a requirement under Section 8 (d) of the Act. Improper siting of such facilities can however, enhance the coastal erosion in certain areas. Under Section 3, Establishment Design and Facilities of the Fisheries Regulations Act, 1995, fisheries establishments should be located in areas which are “free from objectionable odours, smoke, bushes, swamps, dust or other contaminants, and are not subject to flooding.” The artisanal fisheries play a major role in beach pollution as most of the fish processing is done directly on the beach. Wildlife Conservation and Management Department The conservation and management of wildlife in The Gambia is administered under the Wildlife Conservation Act by the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Management. Under section 58 of this Act, the Minister may enforce regulations for the efficient control and management of 51

any natural park, national reserve or local sanctuary, preparing regulations for all or any of the following: •

prohibition or control of cutting, clearing, burning or otherwise damaging or removing any tree, bush, plant, or other vegetation, or any part thereof from any national park, national reserve, or local sanctuary; and

prohibition of human settlement and certain human activities disruptive of wildlife and the natural environment in any national park, national reserve or local sanctuary.

In the coastal zone, the Tanji Bird Reserve has been declared, incorporating the Bijol Islands as a bird reserve because of a great variety of bird species found in the area. The Bijol Islands are a major roosting area for a large number of seabirds, ospreys and migrant birds. Area Councils The Local Government Act is an Act to amend, consolidate and make provisions for local government in The Gambia other than in Banjul. In addition to any functions imposed upon the council by this act or any other law presently in force, a council may perform the following functions in respect of the area for which it is established under section 27 (1): •

prevention of soil erosion;

prohibition, restriction and control of the cutting and selling of trees and forest products, the management of selected forest parks and areas, and the planting and tending of trees in general;

the regulation of the disposal of refuse, the prevention and abatement of nuisances, and generally monitoring of health and sanitation; and

the establishment and management of recreation grounds, open spaces and parks.

The Banjul City Council, which has the functions similar to the other area councils, is empowered under section 32 to prevent or regulate a number of environmental issues, especially the establishment and management of parks, and other public areas or recreation resorts, and by section 52(2)(d) of the Local Government (City of Banjul) Act to make bylaws for a number of purposes including the prevention of damage to the land.

6.2 Land Tenure in The Gambia Two types of land tenure exist in The Gambia: Formal, that is leasehold and freehold; and NonFormal, that is the customary tenure. Within the Formal System, the freehold tenure is the same as total ownership. Both private and public freeholds exist in The Gambia, and the earliest grants were thought to have been made in the second decade of the nineteenth century. With the consent of the Parliament, it is still possible to make freehold grants, but since independence none has been made due to the fact that it was widely believed to be a mistake, since it can create numerous problems to the Government, such as preventing the Government from being able to influence the future ownership or occupation of land. Due to these disadvantages, it was therefore believed that creating new freehold titles was no longer in the interest of the State. The other system (Leasehold), on the other hand, does not grant total ownership. It is the result of a contract, granting exclusive right to possession of land for a fixed period shorter than the grantors interest. The grantor can be either private or public agency. The private grantor is less frequent with the bulk being Public Leasehold from the state. Although there is no maximum lease term prescribed by law, it is generally a policy that leases are for a term of 99 years. Renewals are always possible provided there’s no breach of any of the lease covenants.


With regards to Non-Formal (Customary) tenure in the coastal area, the ownership and occupation of land was still based on the customary practices of the local people, until 1991, when the Government of The Gambia enforced four new land acts. These are the State Lands Act (1990), the Physical Planning and Development Control Act (1990), the Surveys Act (1990), and the Land and Compensation Act (1990). Within this area, before the new land act was signed, most of the land was owned by the village. The village headman, or Alkalo, was responsible for allocating such land to compound heads, who make decisions about the cultivation or reallocate to a member of their extended families.

6.3 Land Administration The principal agency responsible for land administration in The Gambia is the Ministry for Local Government and Lands within which two departments are directly concerned with land matters. The Department of Physical Planning and Housing is responsible, among other duties, for longterm planning, design of layouts or subdivisions, and the issuing of development permits for all new developments, as well as for changes in land use. It is also responsible for the formulation of housing policy, research into technical aspects of housing, and the administration of building codes and rent control. The Department of Lands and Surveys, on the other hand, has four basic functions. It is the sole Government agency responsible for national mapping. In addition to its responsibilities, it is also responsible for all cadastral survey activities, which include the demarcation of new layouts and individual parcels for which leasehold titles are to be granted by the State. Some of its responsibilities also include the creation, recording and control of rights and interests in land, as well as the valuation of properties for taxation purposes. Apart from the Ministry for Local Government and Lands, the Ministry of Justice also plays a vital role in land administration. It runs the deed registry which records all transactions involving land matters, also assisting with any legal matters. Local Institutions such as the Area Councils (Municipalities), Divisional Commissioners, Seyfolu (district chiefs) and Alkalolu (village heads) also play a significant role in the administration of land. The general functions of Divisional Commissioners, Seyfolu, and Alkalolu are traditional in nature, and hence fall under the jurisdiction of Customary Law. Their role in land administration is therefore restricted to land under customary tenure. Due to the centralised nature of the Government, the role of the Municipalities with respect to land administration is limited to a small amount of development activities involving public services, as well as the collection of rates. They are also responsible, in the case of land held under customary tenure, for the issue of certificates of ownership as a first step in converting customary tenure into a state leasehold.


II 7

Integrated Coastal Area Management Strategy Strategy Framework

The ICAM position in the Government process The distinctive feature of an ICAM programme is the fact that it is multi-sectoral and that it seeks to integrate or co-ordinate activities of most existing actors. Managerial dimension of the Gambian ICAM initiative should involve political, legal and institutional aspects which are needed to clarify programme jurisdictional scope and to minimise running into conflict with the existing jurisdictional powers. The purpose of ICAM is to manage development so as not to harm environmental resources, but it does not directly manage the use of the resources. The resources themselves will continue to be managed by sectorally oriented agencies (ministries and their departments in charge of forestry, fisheries, wildlife, water pollution, land-use planning, etc). But coastal development planning and the development process will be managed by the ICAM bodies that serve a multi-sectoral and co-ordinative purpose which otherwise would not be fulfilled. This is why the ICAM Strategy for The Gambia is presented through the sectoral policies which ensure clear responsibilities while requiring necessary co-operation. Main ICAM Process outputs There are three important stages of the first generation ICAM initiative in The Gambia: • Coastal Profiling; • ICAM Strategy formulation; and • ICAM Master Plan. The first two are given in this document, and the third one is to be prepared in time to come. The Coastal Profile examined the facts of the Gambian coast, considering and identifying the issues. The ICAM Strategy formulates goals and objectives of the ICAM Programme, suggests possible solutions, and proposes some of the needed institutional and legal arrangements. The ICAM Master Plan will bring the detailed framework of the ICAM Programme implementation providing at least: • land classification as a basis of future coastal land use planning (including the designation of the ecologically and historically sensitive areas that deserve some form of protection as well as open space, buffer zones); • regulatory system (permits, prohibited activities, setbacks, environmental impacts etc); and • delineation of the management boundaries and jurisdictions for different sectoral policies. The ICAM process and implementation priorities The ICAM programme can be planned and introduced in a comprehensive and nation-wide format, or it can be initiated incrementally (for example, as simple as environmental impact assessment for development projects in coastal area). Given the fact that all the problems the 54

Gambian coast faces are not of equal importance and urgency, it is the incremental approach which is to be recommended. The main issues identified by the working team are coastal erosion, as the most urgent one, and land-use planning and tourism development as the most important ones. In addition, some parts of the coast are experiencing higher rates of coastal erosion processes, as well as stronger tourism development pressures than the others. This requires a selective response which should concentrate on those issues (and parts of the coastal area) that are clear and salient enough to the programme constituencies to command their interest and support. Another criterion which favours a selective approach is the fact that the first generation ICAM programmes, as the one in The Gambia, should select issues and demonstration projects/sites that offer opportunities for tangible near-term success. It is the aim of the ICAM Master Plan to further clarify and elaborate strategy elements, to decide about short-term priorities, and to prepare them, in a form of feasible project proposals, for implementation.

7.1 Institutional Aspects For an integrated management and sustainable development of the coastal area, there is an urgent need to put in place effective co-ordinating mechanisms by creating a multi-sectoral policy planning body. The body should not only include the government institutions, but also private sector and NGOs. The integration of multiple agency interests into a single entity is very difficult. Without exception, institutions will defend their positions and mandates, and show little will to yield some of their authorities. Getting institutions to co-operate in multi-sectoral activities is one of the most complex tasks for the Gambian ICAM initiative. The Gambia has presently no inter-agency or inter-ministerial entity that is positioned jurisdictionally to take on an ICAM programme. The CME Working Group, although needed and effective as a temporary solution, is a technical body to advise the Agency (NEA) where a matter requires specialised technical consideration, meant mostly to deal with the coastal erosion as a major environmental problem. There are two options to be considered as the ICAM institutional solution in The Gambia: 1.

a new lead agency with an interagency mandate to accomplish the co-ordinative management and planning functions of ICAM; and


ICAM office, located within an existing agency that already has appropriate regulatory powers (such as NEA, or Department for Physical Planning).

The political priorities of most countries are such that a new agency with strong powers that would pre-emt the authority of existing agencies would not usually be formed for ICAM. Most developing countries prefer to fit their ICAM programmes into the current governmental structure in a manner that causes the least possible disruption of the present institutional alignments. Therefore, the second alternative seems to be more realistic for the Gambian situation. The ICAM office within an existing agency should be mandated, staffed and budgeted to accomplish at least the following three tasks: • inter-institutional co-ordination on coastal development and resource conservation matters; • environmental assessment and permit issuance for all major coastal developments; and • empowerment to ensure compliance with the adopted policies. Another task of the ICAM office is to participate in the ICAM Master Plan preparation with the mandate to review progress, consider programme changes, discuss proposed new policies, and provide technical information and advice (CME Working Group may well serve this purpose in the new ICAM office as well). It is important that the main role of the proposed ICAM office is co-ordination and supervision, while direct management and implementation functions stay within the existing line agencies (or ministries and their departments). 55

7.2 Boundaries Work on the ICAM in The Gambia, and the preparation of the Coastal Profile and ICAM Strategy required definition of the Study Area. Firstly, a proposed area with its problems and concerns had to be as representative as possible of the whole coast. Secondly, in defining landward boundary, a flexible approach was adopted, roughly following the boundaries given by the issue being addressed or expected. Basically, work on the Coastal Profile and ICAM Strategy required regional approach and boundaries for planning purposes. In the management phase these boundaries are usually narrower because general experience proves that the narrower the management area, the more authority the management entity can expect to exercise. Accordingly, two major ICAM development phases (planning phase and management phase) use different boundaries. An important aim of the planning phase was to define the boundaries reducing the geographical scope (for example, sites and areas of ecological importance, or TDA) according to the available baseline information on the issue under concern. The ICAM Strategy sets main management objectives for these areas, while the ICAM Master Plan, as the first generation document of its kind, further refines these boundaries, provides legal and institutional details, and assigns management responsibilities.

7.3 Participation and Public Awareness Strategic planning requires that the planners consult a wide array of interested parties. They include the government and private sector (either entrepreneurs or local communities), who are expected to become the partners in setting the agenda, and carrying out coastal management programmes. The main actions taken to provide as much stakeholder participation as possible include: • stakeholder analysis undertaken by the Working Team for each coastal issue identified; • village meetings in the areas close to the main tourist capacities (Bakau village and the Alkali Luntang Jaiteh), as well as in the southern villages mostly engaged in fishing and fish smoking (Ghana town); • visits by the team members to the government stakeholders; and • organisation of the Stakeholder Seminar where draft Coastal Profile and Strategy documents were presented and thoroughly discussed. It is important to keep stakeholder participation alive during all stages of the ICAM cycle, from research and planning through implementation, to monitoring and evaluation. Public participation should not be exercised only when management decisions have already been taken, but rather, it should be a two-way consultation with ideas growing in both directions. In this way, coastal management, from its very inception, will be understood as a learning process for all sides, in which steps forward are likely be small, while policies and behaviour have to be adaptive. The best way to promote this approach is to hold regular and frequent assessments of the progress of all project components. Public awareness is another element which plays a major role in accomplishing coastal management objectives. An important goal is to convince people of the value of protecting resources by providing them with both information and ethics, so that they can understand coastal issues and support management activities. Although changes of public attitude require long-term efforts, the result of a successful public awareness campaign is building of a constituency willing to exercise pressure for putting coastal management on the political agenda. There are many techniques to be used in public awareness campaigns. The most appropriate ones for The Gambia are the following: • radio series on environmental issues which can be used in schools and at homes; • print media where journalists can be most helpful in environmental education; • television, although a passive medium, can be of great benefit in general public education; • open meetings to discuss specific issues and enable interactive participation. 56


Sectoral Strategies

8.1 Population Introduction The population of The Gambia is just over a million inhabitants (1993 census). With a surface area of 10,689 square kilometres, and a population density of 96 inhabitants per square kilometre, it is one of the most densely populated countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. About 2.9% of the annual growth rate of 4.3% is accounted for by natural growth, and the rest is a result of migration. The per capita income of The Gambia is US$ 360. Fertility levels are high and have remained so for the past two decades. The crude birth and crude death rates are 46.2 per thousand and 18.0 per thousand, respectively. Infant mortality rate (IMR) is 85 per thousand, and life expectancy is at an average of 54.5 years. The population of The Gambia is young, with close to 50% of population below the age of 15. This gave rise to a high dependency ratio of 88%. The young Gambian population places a huge burden on the Government and the families for the provision of education, health, and other social services. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain high, particularly among urban youths, which poses threat to security and social stability. The growing population exerts a lot of pressure on land, leading to more intensive cultivation of the same land and lower crop yields. It also led to greater demand for buildable land in urban areas. Drought and absence of social and health facilities in the rural areas made 37.7% of the population to live in the urban areas. Since the early 1980s through to 1990s, the Gambian Government embarked on a structural adjustment programme in order to re-focus its economy to the path of meaningful growth. The Gambia’s reform programme is counted as one of the success stories amongst those in the Sub-Saharan countries that implement structural adjustment programme. The reform did not only contribute to an average annual growth rate of over 4% for the several years after the reform, but has also laid a solid foundation for sustainable economic growth. This rate could have been even higher had it not been for the rapid population growth. Although the structural adjustment programme has gone a long way in enhancing economic growth, it has failed to bridge the wide gap between per capita and household incomes. This could be attributed to the heavy outflow of funds (foreign exchange) to service debts. In the light of that development, the Government later addressed the issues of human resource development and poverty alleviation. Goals and Objectives The general goal of the socio-economic development is an overall improvement of the living conditions of the population on a sustainable basis. The specific objective of the country-wide socio-economic policies, particularly relevant for the coastal area, is population growth reduction and control of the population migration to the coast. This can be achieved through the provision of equal development opportunities in some other parts of the country, and involves policies and actions in different fields of the social and economic life.


How the coast is managed and who benefits is important from a socio-economic standpoint. For example, in rural communities, many people do not receive wages or salaries, but rather depend on activities like subsistence fishing or small scale farming or trade for their survival. An increase in the nation’s per capita income is unlikely to affect these people much – improvement for them would mean the ability to continue the activities on which they rely, and modest improvements in health and education. Actions that close future options by concentrating on large-scale economic development may create more problems than they solve. When, for example, industrial fishing is developed to the point of squeezing out the artisanal fishermen, the net result to the coastal community can be negative, despite officially claimed economic growth. Source: “Coastal Zone Management Handbook” by John R. Clark

Management Strategy The Gambian Government has set up the National Population Commission in September 1991 to look at ways of tackling its problems. The recommendations of the commission, which were adopted by the Parliament in 1992, include the following: 1. to achieve reduction in the rate of population growth; 2. to ensure balanced spatial distribution of the population; 3. to monitor and manage international migration; 4. to promote health and welfare of the population to enhance the status of specific target population such as women, children, youths and the aged; 5. to strengthen population statistics; 6. to increase awareness about the effect of population growth on major economic and social issues; and 7. to increase the awareness of the family planning methods. These recommendations, when adhered to, would go a long way in supplementing the progress made in the structural adjustment programme.

8.2 Land-Use Planning Introduction Land-use or physical planning is carried out at both regional and local levels. It defines desirable land use patterns that, at least in theory, balance social, market and environmental values. It is always accompanied by a set of regulations (development ordinances) which sets the type, intensity, amount and rate of development. In addition, a function of a land-use planning program involves day-to-day administering, enforcing, and revising policies, regulations, public investments and other measures that constitute the actual development management system. At the same time, land-use planning and decision making can be seen as a big-stakes game over an area’s future land-use pattern. Planners play the game in an arena with other players, each with resources and influence over decisions. Bearing in mind the situation in some parts of TDA, it is obvious that the role the land-use planners have been allowed to play is not in the best interest of the sound development of the Gambian coast. Goals and Objectives Sustainable development is by all means an overall goal of the whole coastal management program in The Gambia. In the case of land-use planning the goal is to identify the level and patterns of development that can be sustained without critical environmental damage, while meeting economic and social needs of present and future generations. 58

More practical objectives of land-use planning that follow from this concept are numerous. In the case of the Gambian coastal area, and Project Study Area in particular, they include: • land-use planning capacity building in, and application of environmental analysis, assessment and management; • recognition of the land-use planning profession as a leading authority in development management; • strengthening of stakeholders’ participation and public awareness, including local communities, in the planning process; • infrastructural needs assessment and co-ordinated capital investment plans as a part of the coastal area planning process; • improvement of the land-use planning intelligence through a planning information system; • preparation of a new generation of planning documents for the coastal area within the framework of ICAM (following the land classification plan to be provided by the ICAM Master Plan). Management Strategy Management strategy in the land use planning sector provides more detailed actions to be taken aimed at realisation of the defined goals and objectives. 1.

It is necessary to advance environmental considerations in the plan making process in the coastal areas. The prerequisite for this is in-house capacity building within planning institutions (state level, such as DPPH and regional offices) in environmental analysis and assessment techniques and tools. Furthermore, strong inter-institutional and inter-sectoral links should be established with NEA, and the national and international scientific community. Particularly important tools for planners in advance planning are strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and carrying capacity analysis. Both tools have been introduced in this Project (in the evaluation of the sensitivity and classification of the ecologically sensitive areas), but to a limited extent due to the lack of environmental inventory and baseline information. SEA is needed to assess not only individual projects within the certain usually limited geografic area but whole development programs or plans covering wider coastal segments. For this purpose an introduction of a SEA may be an appropriate tool to deal with this issue. This will at least provide an opportunity for responsible authorities to anticipate cumulative impacts of a number of similar projects which (i.e. tourism), if considered individually, may not impose danger to the environment, but assessed as a whole may show quite a different picture


The Department of Physical Planning and Housing and the Department of Lands and Surveys, as the key agencies responsible for land administration, must be given the necessary support and funding for their institutional capacity building. This will enable the former to carry out the necessary development control enforcement, and the latter to provide the necessary inventory of land resources information on which all planning and implementation will depend.


A plan implementation is very often the single most critical step in whole planning activity. In The Gambian case this has proved to be particularly true. Institutional arrangements created for 1989 TDA Plan implementation revealed serious deficiencies. In brief, full respect and leading role in the development management and land allocation process should be given to land-use planners and Physical Planning Department. The only acceptable way to challenge or influence planning document solutions for any stakeholder is to take part in the planning process itself. Other than this, planning schemes can be changed only through legally defined plan amendment procedures. 59


Stakeholder participation is another important strategy in the planning process which eventually brings more effectiveness in the plan implementation phase. It is equally significant in the land-use planning and in the overall ICAM process. Stakeholder analysis is a technique which prepares for negotiation in problem solving process (e.g. allocation of land for different activities, sensitive area regimes, infrastructure extensions). This is an advance scoping of the interests of those affected by a plan, and how they are likely to respond to it. A stakeholder analysis looks at who the key players are, what they need, what they can contribute, what powers they have, and what their influence is.


The timing and amount of land-use demand should be co-ordinated with the availability and adequacy of infrastructure. Accordingly, capital improvement plan should be prepared in parallel with the land-use plan of the whole TDA, in accordance with the realities of land demand (excluding speculative land allocation demands) and infrastructure financing opportunities. This is a necessary step (not the only one) if the rest of TDA wants to avoid practices of the recent years tourism development within the GBA.


A planning information system is necessary to answer in accurate and timely manner important questions about the location, type, amount and rate of land-use change within the coastal area. Since virtually all planning data are related to geography (or spatial location), the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has become widespread. It must be pointed out that NEA has undertaken important steps in establishing a strong environmental information section, and selected GIS as the principal technology of environmental information management. Building upon this, the ICAM Project organised five-day training course on ARCVIEW 2.1 for some of the national team members and the NEA GIS lab staff. Table 15. Land-Use Planning Management Strategy Outline




Time frame


Capacity building

Training programmes, inter-sectoral cooperation

Strategic environmental assessment, carrying capacity

Short term

TADB powers/structure reconsideration, enforcement of reentry provision Stakeholder analysis, consensus building, participatory workshops

Short term and ongoing

International technical assistance, NEA, DPWM, DF, NGOs, International assistance programmes, regular budgeting MTC, PPHD, NEA, CMEWG

Short term and ongoing


Land allocation demand analysis, infrastructure funding models Information needs assessment, system design, standards

Short term and ongoing


Mid term and ongoing


Additional funding, Lack of equipment (h/s, donations vehicles,...) Physical plans Planning Dept. leading implementation role in development management (e.g. land allocation process), enforcement Inter-sectoral, interStakeholder participation in institutional co-operation, public awareness planning campaigns, ICAM project process Coordinated Development infrastructure and land(growth) use planning, strict management enforcement Training and interagency Planning co-operation, data information collection system


Short term

8.3 Tourism Introduction Among the important sectors for The Gambia’s future development, tourism has been identified as perhaps the best one meeting the objectives for assisting the country's medium-term regeneration. Within this perspective, the National Policy for the Tourism Sector has asserted that tourism could: •

develop as a sustainable, environmentally sound industry;

promote The Gambia as an attractive destination;

optimise foreign exchange earnings;

generate employment opportunities for the Gambians;

encourage and facilitate profitable investment; and

contribute to a refurbishment enhancement of the national infrastructure.

The Gambia’s prime attraction rests in its natural and cultural heritage. But while these are critical resources and important marketing assets for the tourism industry, they are also extremely vulnerable and vital for the country's broader long-term survival. Even more important in The Gambia than in some other developing societies is the obvious problem that the country's major potential tourist attraction, its coastal area, is highly sensitive and fragile, both environmentally and culturally. Accordingly, tourism should not be permitted to become the country's key economic sector. It is too vulnerable to the movement of international capital, changes in fashion, and natural and cultural environmental degradation. But as a supplementary income, particularly in conjunction with agriculture and rural development, an appropriate sustainable form of tourism can provide valuable economic and social gains. Goals and Objectives According to the National Policy for the Tourism Sector, “its principal goal is to maximise the economic and social benefits that are derived from the totality of the tourism industry, by the different categories of the Gambian service and skill providers”. In addition to numerous intra-sectoral tourism policy objectives, there are others very relevant from the point of view of sustainable coastal development. They include: •

diversification of traditional tourism product;

protection and preservation of the natural environment and socio-cultural heritage by minimising the negative effects on the coastal environment, in particular on ecologically/environmentally sensitive areas;

TDA development and utilisation according to the principles and design given by the existing or new planning documents;

local population needs to be involved throughout the tourism development process.


The tourist industry is an important earner of foreign exchange in the economies of the several coastal countries, including The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius. Large scale tourism, such as that already developed at points along the coast from Dakar to Lome, can have severe impacts on the coastal zone. Construction of hotels, restaurants, recreation facilities, and so forth, located directly on the shore have been responsible for the clearing of coastal vegetation, filling of wetlands, and an ever increasing loading of sewage and solid waste. Many of these facilities, built with public funds, have since deteriorated due to lack of maintenance, or have been washed away, due to the absence of adequate setbacks from shore. The heavy capital losses resulting from inadequate planning and zoning are compounded by marring of the coastline and destruction of the aesthetic appeal that initially attracted tourists to these areas. (...) Because it is readily apparent to visitors, degradation of the coastal zone due to pollution, urban sprawl and habitat destruction can rapidly erode a country’s tourism base, jeopardising existing investments and future foreign exchange earnings. Source: “Africa: A Framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management” by The World Bank

Management Strategy Management strategy determines a number of sound steps and actions aimed at realisation of the goals and objectives that are spelled out above. They include: 1.

Besides making the Gambian tourism product more attractive, diversification of the tourism activities and their spatial dispersal provides reduced pressure on the sensitive coastal environments while ensuring more equitable distribution of benefits nation-wide. This is to be achieved through the incentives for tourism facilities development in the upcountry provinces, improved transportation (in particular by river), and discovering and opening up new cultural and natural attractions.


Environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas are defined in this study as areas in which uncontrolled and incompatible development may result in irreversible damage. Tourism in or around sensitive areas can be developed as a part of the overall area management program. The appropriate kind of tourism is nature tourism which can be defined as travel or visit to unspoilt natural environments for the specific purpose of experiencing their flora, fauna and scenery. The fundamental issue is to do it in such a way as to support its protection (e.g. through raising of revenue for area management). In any case, tourism facilities must be small scale and go with the carrying capacity of such areas.


A plan implementation is very often the most critical step of the whole planning activity. In the Gambian case this has proved to be particularly true. Institutional arrangements created for 1989 TDA Plan implementation revealed serious deficiencies. In brief, full respect and leading role in the development and land allocation process should be given to land-use planners and Physical Planning Department. The only acceptable way to challenge or influence planning document solutions for any stakeholder is to take part in the planning process itself. Other than this, planning schemes can be changed only through legally defined plan amendment procedures. (The same applies for the Land-use Planning Strategy).


Table 16. Tourism Management Strategy Outline Issue



Inland tourism promotion, up-country tours, boat trips, cultural antiquities, sacred pools, sanctuaries

Economic incentives for investors, strategic EIA, tourist facilities design guidelines Tourism activities that Land classification, Nature support nature protection carrying capacity, protection and sharing of revenue multiple use support regimes, local programmes community involvement, preparation of an Environmental Code of Conduct for Tourism TADB Physical plans Planning Dept. leading powers/structure implementation role in development management (e.g. land examination, allocation process) enforcement of reentry provision Tourism product diversification

Time frame


Short to mid term


Short to mid term


Short term


8.4 Coastal Erosion Introduction As it is shown in the coastal profile, coastal erosion due to natural causes and at different rates, occurs along the entire coast of The Gambia. In addition, some human activities (e.g. sand mining) have aggravated the natural erosion in certain areas. As a result, the rate of erosion in certain areas caused much concern. Some of these areas are: •

Muslim Cemetery and vicinity;

Kololi area (e.g. Kairaba and Senegambia hotels); and

Sunwing and Amie's beach hotel.

Goals and Objectives The overall goal is to reduce the rate of erosion or its impacts along the entire coast of The Gambia, particularly in the environmentally sensitive areas listed above. The objectives are to protect the existing and new waterfront developments from coastal erosion, as well as to minimise human activities which contribute to erosion processes (e.g. sand mining). In addition, development schemes and regulations that reduce erosion risk should be developed.

... high erosion potential in the region combined with poor decision making regarding the siting of coastal infrastructure, ad hoc decisions about the kinds and location of mitigation measures, and the extraction of the coastal resources have all contributed to high rates of erosion in the West African coastal zone.


Source: “Africa: A Framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management” by The World Bank

It should be clearly understood that beach problems usually result from human actions. Beach and dune systems in their natural state provide a buffer against storm-caused erosion and storm breaching. The natural forces at work are immense; therefore, structural solutions to beach erosion and protection of shoreline property from the hazards of sea storms may be expensive, and are often temporary or counterproductive. Source: “Coastal Zone Management Handbook” by John R. Clark

Management Strategy 1.

Short to medium term interventions. As a result of the lack of reliable information or data with regard to the general coastal geomorphology, dynamics, rates of erosion, etc., temporary measures have to be adopted to reduce or contain the rate of erosion, particularly in the environmentally sensitive areas (e.g. Muslim cemetery and vicinity), on a short term. The temporary measure considered to reduce the rate of erosion in this area is the construction of new Rhun-palm groynes and boulder rivetments along its 160 m stretch. The quantity of Rhun-palm trunks required (four thousand) is however not available in the country and the plan to obtain them from a neghbouring country has not succeeded. Consequently, boulder rivetments were constructed along the 160 m stretch of the cemetery area to contain the erosion for the short term.


Research and monitoring. On a medium to long term, studies should be carried out on the general coastal geomorphology, dynamics, rates of erosion, offshore bathymetry and other relevant parameters along the entire Gambian coast, but in particular along the known erosion-sensitive areas. This information will allow for the selection of the most effective coastal protection measure to be applied in different coastal areas. Furthermore, the same will provide for a baseline information necessary in monitoring erosion trends and effectiveness of applied measures.


Setback lines. The information on the rate of erosion will be useful in determining setback lines in virgin areas (i.e. undeveloped areas) along the entire coast, especially in the TDA (tourism development area). These setback lines will establish the minimum distance from the shoreline where no hard structures (e.g. solid blockwork hotels) should be erected or built at various areas along the entire coast. These setback lines should be given to the public in general, and to the TDB (Tourism Development Board) in particular which is responsible for the allocation of land in the TDA (the setback line should be 100 times the rate of erosion in a particular area).


Environmental Impact Assessment. All development projects in the TDA (e.g. shorefront structures, sand mining) should have an EIA carried out on them to assess their effects on the coastline or beach.


Public awareness campaign. The general public should be sensitised on the effects of coastal erosion, particularly how certain human activities (e.g. random sand mining along the coast) can aggravate coastal erosion. Each village or community can be asked to set up a committee to control and monitor coastal erosion in their areas, and to report their findings or observations to the relevant institutions as soon as possible.


Control of sand mining. In the future, all designated sand mining areas should have a management plan regulating the volume of sand to be extracted so as not to affect the stability of the coastline, as is done in the Kartong sand mining quarry at present. These designated areas, wherever possible, should be located inland, away from the coast.


Co-ordination between stakeholder institutions. All the above steps will be of little or no use unless there is co-ordination between the different stakeholder institutions with


interest in the coastal zone. To this end, the present ICAM working group should not be dissolved after the completion or preparation of the coastal profile and strategy, but should rather be maintained and strengthened to include other institutions (e.g. TDB, Hotel Owners Association etc.) and local stakeholders. Table 17. Coastal Erosion Management Strategy Outline Issue



Time frame


Lack of reliable Research and monitoring erosion-related information Boulder rivetment Muslim Cemetery area EIA Waterfront development impacts

Policy oriented research

Short to midterm

GU, International programs,

Performance monitoring


MWC, ICAM Team, Wright Construction

Effects on longshore drift and beach budget in wider area, Inter-sectoral cooperation Erosion rates monitoring

Commence NEA-CME,DPPH short-term and ongoing

Waterfront development schemes

Development ordinances with setback regulations (50-100 x annual erosion rate)

Commence DPPH short-term and ongoing

8.5 Wildlife Introduction The coastal strip of The Gambia has been subject to considerable pressure from human activity for many decades. Tourism development has altered much of the natural habitat from the Cape Point to Bijilo, and further South, the fishing activities (notably the collection of wood for fishsmoking), clearance of land for agriculture development, and timber harvesting have had considerable impacts. The original primary habitat of the coastal strip was closed woodland dominated by rhun palm (Borassus aethopium). Stands of such forest exist at Bijilo, Kachuma and Dau Dula. Much of the coastal forest has been degraded to coastal shrub or bushed-grassland. Such areas nonetheless retain a considerable ecological value for birds, small mammals and reptiles. River estuaries are generally characterised by lagoons with associated mangrove fringes and saltpans (barren flats). Such areas are dynamic and may undergo considerable alteration in morphology over very short time scales. The lagoons are generally backed by a stabilised dune system with characteristic vegetation zones grading into closed canopy forests. An intact example of this vegetation succession exists at the Tanji Bird Reserve. The fauna of the coastal area varies according to the habitat type, with large mammals generally limited to more closed vegetation types. Among some of the large mammals there is considerable mobility with lie-up sites provided by areas of closed vegetation, and nightly foraging extending into more open areas or agricultural land. Such movements are undertaken by species such as hyena, aardvark and porcupine. Goals and Objectives The DPWM primary objective within the coastal area is the maintenance of intact areas of coastal habitat with adequate interconnections via corridors to permit the viability of wildlife 65

populations. Associated to this aim is the control of illegal activities within the coastal area, such as illegal hunting, bushfires, deforestation, and uncontrolled development. Maintaining Primary Habitat The key areas of primary habitat, or areas of high ecological value, have been outlined in the Coastal Profile under the appendix to the Wildlife section. Many of these areas are under threat from agricultural development, urbanisation, tourism development, and felling for fuelwood or lumber. Recognition should be given to the wildlife/biodiversity value of these areas and their importance for maintaining a coastal strip which fulfils diverse needs of the various sectors, both private and commercial. Cross-sectoral co-operation is essential in such areas as firewood utilisation for the fish-smoking industry, where local communities, international donors (protection of biodiversity), and various government departments are all stake holders. Hunting Control Traditionally, local communities depended for much of their protein supply on wild animals. Since 1977 the Wildlife Act has prohibited the hunting of all species, with the exception of vermin (warthog, Gambian and cane rat) and certain bird species, but illegal hunting of a wide range of species still occurs. The maintenance of populations of larger mammals is dependent on the control of this activity, as well as on the preservation of their habitat. A close cooperation with the GPF is required, concurrent with an on-going educational campaign in local communities. A further area of concern is the illegal bycatch of marine turtles by fishermen who market the meat openly at landing stations, and the collection of turtle eggs from the entire coastal strip thereby jeopardising the reproductive success of the species. Maintenance of Corridors Fragmentation of habitat is occurring at an alarming rate within the coastal area with the result that areas of high ecological value are becoming isolated in terms of potential movement between areas by terrestrial fauna. To maintain viable populations of large animals there is a requirement for genetic mixing which small isolated populations may not be able to fulfil. Corridors connecting areas of high biodiversity are therefore essential in maintaining that biodiversity, and should be integrated in the zoning/planning stage for the coastal area. Eco-tourism Promotion There is considerable possibility for the integration of non-consumptive and compatible forms of tourism into the protected coastal area system. This aspect of tourism should be given increasing attention as the funding of conservation projects is likely to decline over coming years, and it is imperative that protected areas generate and retain some form of revenue for improvement of the existing, and development of additional protected areas. Initial funding must be provided to establish and develop park/reserve infrastructure to an acceptable level. Management Strategy 1.

Research and Monitoring. The sites of high ecological value in the coastal strip are poorly known in terms of their condition, biodiversity and threats to which they are subject. Potential corridors linking the various areas also need to be identified. Priority should be given to establishing a baseline information for each site, and determine a strategy for their management based on an assessment of their condition and threats. This should be carried out on a short to medium term basis. With an established baseline information, monitoring can be implemented to determine the effectiveness of management or otherwise.


Planning/Zoning. Based on the assessment of the sites of ecological value, along with the other multiple demands and activities of other sectors and communities, a comprehensive zoning of land use should be conducted, which will form the grid for future developments


and activities. This exercise may be best implemented by commencing from the bottom up, in a similar approach adopted by the LEAP fact-finding mission. 3.

Inter-sectoral Co-operation. Many areas of resource utilisation cross the divisions between the various sectors as indicated above with regard to fuelwood use for fish smoking. Forums for the management of such resources should be established to find an acceptable solution to all concerned parties, and can be developed from an extension of the Coastal and Marine Environment Working Group with relevant local community involvement. The approach should be to focus on a particular critical issue at first (e.g. fuelwood demand) and to follow it through to a satisfactory conclusion rather than taking on board too much at one time. The success with one issue will gain support for the process.


Control and Enforcement. The strategies adopted for the coastal area will require the implementation of certain control and enforcement procedures. This can be achieved only through an active and willing participation at the community level, and with the necessary support from the GPF and appropriate sectors, as applicable. Community awareness and co-operation should be tackled from the outset, with ongoing inputs aimed at rewarding active participation. Table 18. Wildlife Management Strategy Outline




Time frame

Habitat degradation

Protection, zoning, EIA, inter-sectoral cooperation

Short term but DPPH, DF, DPWM, ongoing FD

Habitat fragmentation Illegal hunting

Zoning protection TDA

Research, community awareness, alternative land use Community awareness

Mid term


Short-term & ongoing


Fisheries control impact on wildlife Ecologically sensitive areas

Legislation enforcement, review of legislation

Community awareness, review act Community awareness fishing method review Inter-sectoral, baseline information established Development control, community awareness, protection

Short term to ongoing


Short term to mid term

GU, Soil & Water Unit, NEA

Protection, Wildlife Act enforcement

Research, management strategy

Coastal erosion Establish baseline information, monitor, control


short-mid term DFi, DPWM

8.6 Fisheries Introduction While the fisheries sector plays a vital role in the Gambian economy, operations within the sector generate some negative impacts on other sectors that have a vested interest in the coastal area. The activities of these other sectors also have impact on fisheries. Fish smoking, the main method of processing and preservation of fish, has been a major contributor to depletion of the forest cover within the coastal area. This activity also generates smoke and


smell which are serious pollutants, particularly as far as tourism and recreational activities on the beaches and surrounding areas are concerned. Oyster harvesting, which often involves cutting mangrove roots and stems, causes significant loss of much of the mangrove cover. In addition, in recent years, coastal and estuarine agriculture also involved clearing of several hundred hectares of mangrove areas. Spawning and nursery grounds for fish, shrimps and other aquatic organisms provided by mangroves were lost in the process. Consequently, the vital role that mangroves play in preventing erosion and salt water intrusion into rice fields, vegetable gardens and wells was impaired. The area designated as the Tourism Development Area (TDA) happens to be the traditional operating ground of the fisheries sector. A lot of conflict is generated between tourism and fisheries as a result of the necessity to construct fish landing facilities and other fisheries infrastructure while catering for tourism and recreation needs near or on the beaches. Sewage disposal is done directly into the sea threatening fish and other aquatic organisms, and the quality of fish destined for consumption. For successful coastal area management conflicts between fisheries, tourism, forestry, urbanisation and sewage disposal have to be addressed. Goals and Objectives The Government’s objectives for the fisheries sector include increased production while reducing post-harvest losses, and improved nutrition of the population through the supply of cheap animal protein in the form of fish. The provision of improved fish landing infrastructure and preservation facilities, such as ice and cold storage, is considered to be an important factor in the achievement of these objectives. Where these preservation methods are unavailable, post-harvest losses can be reduced by smoking and drying of fish. In this regard a sustainable supply of fuelwood for fish smoking must be provided. The sustainable harvesting of fish, oysters and other sea organisms constitutes an important factor in achieving and ensuring long-term food supply. Certain sites and ecosystems, such as Dog Island and fragile mangrove areas, should be granted some form of protection since they contain invaluable aquatic biological diversity which must be preserved and protected. Management Strategy 1.

Tourism development and fishing activity around the Dog Island and mangrove areas could be restricted and even prohibited. The establishment of protected areas would be a useful option. The time frame for the implementation of the management strategies could range from short-term (for acute issues) to long-term (for chronic problems).


The management of mangrove forests would require inter-sectoral collaboration. It may be necessary to establish a national mangrove committee comprising all sectors involved with mangrove areas, as well as those communities dependent on mangroves.


The sustainable supply of firewood for fish smoking would require the establishment of plantations and community forests, and the encouragement of natural forest management by the local communities. To this end community forestry and plantation committees should be set up.


The integration of fisheries into coastal area management must be given priority, as it is essential to any management strategy elaborated to achieve the set development objectives and goals.


Table 19. Fisheries Management Strategy Outline Issue/site



Time Frame Institutions

Dog Island

Elaborate protection plan

Mid to long term

Mangrove areas

Establish national mangrove committee

Fish processing

Establish plantation community forests, natural forest management Integrate fisheries into coastal area management

Studies, consultations, workshops Tree planting awareness campaigns Research alternative or improved and energy-efficient fish smoking methods Inter- sectoral consultations. Designate fisheries & tourism development areas

Tourism & fisheries development

Mid to long term


Short to mid term

DF, DPWM, DFi, Communities, NGOs,

Short to long term


8.7 Mineral Resources Introduction The Gambian coastal area is endowed with placer mineral deposits in the ancient raised beaches. The mineral reserves include both metalliferous (heavy minerals) and nonmetalliferous industrial minerals and rocks, such as quartz sand, construction sand and gravel. Construction sand and gravel are currently the only minerals mined in The Gambia. In the coastal area three quarries are currently active in terms of commercial mining. Mandinary and Bafuloto are gravel quarries used by several small miners. Bijilo, and as of recently Kartong quarries are sand mining areas. All the mineral deposits also occur in environmentally sensitive areas. The Bijilo sand quarry, for example, was located at the beach, and because of coastal erosion problems it was closed on January 1, 1995. The Kartong sand mining area is more than 100 m away from the high water mark. It is the only quarry managed under a management plan, with proper supervision and monitoring. Two mining companies operating the quarry are licensed under the Minerals Act (the mining code of The Gambia). All other quarries are managed by the Municipal Councils. No management or restoration programmes exist for these quarries. There are mineral reserves in the Tourism Development Area (TDA), creating numerous problems and conflicts between the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the local communities and other Government departments which have a stake in the coastal area. Goals and Objectives The principal goal of research and development of industrial minerals and rocks, such as quartz, sand, construction sand and gravel, is to attract the Government’s attention to the development of resources which help achieve greater self-sufficiency and a higher living standard in the rural areas. 69

The exploration and exploitation of these materials, however, should be in accordance with proper mining legislation that adequately emphasises environmental concerns. Management Strategy 1.

Mining at any scale is usually accompanied by serious environmental damage. Sand mining at the Bijilo Beach caused serious erosion problems at Bijilo, and is believed to have contributed to coastal erosion in other beaches far from Bijilo. Similarly, quarrying of gravel at Bafuloto and other areas within the Greater Banjul Area has caused serious damage to landscape, polluted the ground water, and in many cases loss of human life has been reported. Therefore, the country needs a proper and adequate mining legislation to cover the broad spectrum of mineral types.


In addition to proper mining legislation, it would be prudent to empower the administrators of this legislation, i.e. to develop technical and management skills of the Government agency staff responsible for planning, managing, monitoring and supervising of mining.


Apart from providing employment and income to the local community, the mining companies should provide some social facilities, such as electricity, water and toilet facilities to villages close to the mines.


Constant road maintenance should be embarked on to cure the damage done to the coastal roads.


Mining licenses should have land restoration programmes and conditions which should be strictly adhered to by the mining companies.


Old quarries should be rehabilitated or reclaimed as soon as possible.


Proper cross-sectoral consultation is necessary prior to any development of mineral reserves. Table 20. Mineral Resources Management Strategy Outline




Time frame


Research on mineral resource potentials Impacts of mining

Reserve calculation and mapping

Input for EIS

Short term



Effects on ecologically / environmentally sensitive areas, roads, aquifer

Short term and ongoing


8.8 Forestry Introduction During the negotiation process for the establishment of forest parks in The Gambia between the colonial authorities and local authorities, no attention was paid to the coastal problems as we experience them today (in particular coastal erosion and deforestation). The coastal area was a closed forest with a stable ecosystem, hence the need for forest parks along the area was not seen as urgent. This could be responsible for having now only the Bijilo Forest Park


along the western coast with an area of only 55.5 hectares. The rest are presently open access forests with the exception of the Tanji Bird Reserve. Goals and Objectives The goal is a sound sustainable management of the coastal forests (the Bijilo Forest Park being the most important among them), and the open access forests within the study area. The importance of maintaining a stable ecosystem in this area is a priority to the Department of Forestry. Current forest policies are in line with this goal. The objective is to encourage nature tourism in the area, and to meet the basic needs of the local communities for forest products. Management Strategy 1.

The Bijilo Forest Park was re-surveyed in 1982, and in 1983 a new plan was developed for a proper management of the area. The plan, in addition to securing protection of the area, provides for its controlled use as a nature tourism site. This is a viable solution because of the forest park location within the Tourism Development Area (TDA).


The Management Plan for the Bijilo Forest Park calls for the protection of the Park against illegal activities and fire, and conservation of biodiversity. Its habitat values to numerous bird species have also been considered for protection. Other than the dead wood utilisation which has been carried out, no other exploitation is allowed. Small-scale silvicultural activities, such as enrichment planting and species site trails, were organised in the 1980s.


The open access forests, including the mangrove forests, are managed and protected through periodic patrolling by forest scouts and the licensing system of the Department. These forest types are a source of fuelwood for fish smokers and household energy to the communities. In addition, they provide other forest resources needed by the rural communities to satisfy their local needs (e.g. poles for roofing houses, boat building, and fence posts).


There is an urgent need to carry out a survey in this area to determine the stable trend and utilisation of the forest resources in this area – this could be done by the Forestry Department with adequate funds in place.


The community forestry management, currently practised in the hinterland, should be replicated in the coastal area.


Co-operation between institutions dealing with natural resources in the coastal area should be encouraged.


Any development project in the coastal areas should give consideration to the forest resource within the area – harmonisation of the existing legislation with all stakeholders is necessary.

8.9 Water Resources Introduction The Gambia is endowed with three types of water resources: •


surface water; and

rainwater. 71

More than 80% of the population rely on groundwater. Groundwater recharge is mainly through rainfall. The quantity and quality of groundwater is a cause for concern, as a result of uncontrolled abstraction and indiscriminate waste dumping or discharge. Surface water is important for fisheries and recreational activities. In addition, the freshwater of the Gambia River upstream is mainly used for agricultural and domestic purposes. It is envisaged that human influence could have a negative impact on the country's water resources in view of the current state of affairs regarding the water use, saline intrusion and aquifer protection. Currently, the Department of Water Resources has the mandate to monitor and develop policies regarding all activities dealing with water resources. The 1979 Water Resources Act provides the legal framework for concerted public sector intervention in the implementation of this act. However, there is the need to develop a more comprehensive water law. Goals and Objectives The goals/objectives of having an integrated management strategy for water resources are to achieve an effective management, development and control of the nation’s water resources for sustainable development Management Strategy An inter-ministerial taskforce on water resources (1988) made, among others, the following recommendations: 1.

Privatisation of well digging and borehole drilling for effective monitoring, on both short and long term.


Review the institutional framework by enacting a comprehensive water law to define the Ministry of Water Resources, Forestry and Fisheries as the ultimate authority in the use and management of the national water resources, and their protection against overexploitation and pollution.


To carry out research, investigation and exploration of the water resources, involving all major public users in the process.


Preparation of the Master Plan for the National Water Resources Development.


REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

Africa: A Framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management, The World Bank, 1994. Climate and Water Resources of The Gambia, 1993. Coastal erosion in The Gambia, 1993. Coastal Zone Management Handbook, John R. Clark, 1996. Environmental Legislation and Administration in The Gambia vis-à-vis The Gambia Environmental Action Plan, 1992. Environmental Management and Tourism Development Study, Brown & Root Environmental, 1994. Fisheries Port Study Project, Interim Report, 1992. Gambia Parks Revenue and Budgetary Requirements Study, 1994. Geology and Mineral Resources of The Gambia, Whyte and Russell, 1988. Guidelines for Carrying Capacity Assessment for Tourism in Mediterranean Coastal Areas, UNEP PAP/RAC, 1997. Guidelines for Integrated Management of Marine and Coastal areas, UNEP, 1995. Heavy Mineral Reserves in the Coastal Area of The Gambia, Whyte, Stewart and Pijl, 1981. Integration of Policies: a Requirement for Coastal Zone Management, paper by P. Winsemius, 1993. Legal and Fiscal Cadastral Information System for The Gambia, A. K.M. Manneh, 1991. Legal and Institutional Aspects of Integrated Coastal Management in National legislation, by S. Boelaert-Suominen and C. Cullinan, FAO, 1994. Maps and Aerial Photographs Publication List, 1991/92. National Accounts of The Gambia, Central Statistics Department,1993. National Conference on Coastal Zone Management, 1993. National Dialogue on Environmental Reporting, Draft, 1996. National Policy for the Tourism Sector 1995-2000, 1995. National Population Policy for Social Welfare and Sustained Development, Draft, 1991. National Seminar on Policy Framework for Environmental Legislation, 1993. Physical Development Plan for the Tourism Development Area, GTZ, ARGE and MLGL, 1989. Population Databank, Central Statistics Department, 1993. Population and Housing Census 1993, Foreign Nationals in The Gambia, Central Statistics Department, 1993. Population and Housing Census, Provisional Report, Central Statistics Department, 1993. Rapid Assessment of Land based Sources of Pollution, Case study for The Gambia. Rehabilitation and Upgrading of the Trans-Gambia Highway and the Kombo Coastal Roads, Stage I, 1996. Rehabilitation and Upgrading of the Trans-Gambia Highway and the Kombo Coastal Roads, Environmental Assessment, Stage I, 1996. Report on the Second National Conference on Tourism, 1995. Sand Mining Management Plan, Kartong Site, Draft, 1993. Statistical Abstract of The Gambia, Central Statistics Department, 1991, 1996. The Gambia Environmental Action Plan 1992-2001, 1992. The Gambia's Environmental Information System: Inventory of Environmental Data in The Gambia, 1994. Third Banjul Port Expansion Project, EIA, 1993. West African Long-Term Perspectives: Population, Land and Development, 1992.


Table 8. Sites of Ecological Importance within the Study Area Site name


Habitat types

Ecological value

Tourism potential

1. Toll Point to Cape Creek (includes Camaloo Corner)

This area, along with the entire mangrove swamp (site 2) extending to Mandinari Point, is due to be proposed as a Ramsar site.

The seaward strip to the north is composed of a mosaic of habitat types including coastal lagoon, mangrove, saltpan, coastal scrub and grassland, and freshwater ponds which form in the Camaloo corner.

The area has a high ecological value. Botanical, avifauna, fish breeding and nursery grounds, possibly also for reptiles and invertebrates. Some data available on avifauna.

There is a limited amount of birdwatching currently taking place. Its proximity to the Cape Point hotel area makes it very accessible.

2. Oyster Creek mangrove swamp (to Mandinari Point)

This area (along with the site 1) is due to be proposed as a Ramsar Site.

Mangrove swamp with fringing salt pan and grassland, some relic patches of woodland esp. towards Abuko to Mandinari.

High ecological value for avifauna, fish breeding & nursery grounds, and for zoological (esp. manatee – Trichecus senegaliensis).

3. Tanji bird reserve

Gazetted (1993) Nature Reserve under DPWM. Area ca 616 ha.

Very high – avifauna (both residential and migratory), zoological (both marine and terrestrial), botanical, and also encompassing a cultural site at Ghana town, Sanementereng.

4. Brufut wood


Coastal lagoons, stabilised sand-dunes with woodlands, scrub and grassland components, fresh water swamp, river with fringing mangrove & saltpan, dry woodland, offshore islands with surrounding shallow reef. Relic patch of riverine woodland.

High. Important botanically and also for presence of specific riverine woodland bird species limited in dist. to sites such as Abuko and Pirang. Possibly also for invertebrates.


Commercial development, especially along the Banjul highway (as evidenced by recent petrol station development); agricultural intensification; dumping; tourism development, especially along the coast (beach bars, etc); motorised sport activities (quads, water skiing); industrial pollution. Urban encroachment from Currently used for tourist Serakunda side, commercial boat trips and fishing, access from Denton Bridge development from Banjul highway – Kanifing side. Current fishing, to the river proper. Also birdwatching trips, esp. from timber harvesting, oyster collection appears to be done on Lamin Lodge. Potential for a sustainable basis, but no manatee watching site. baseline information available. Some illegal hunting of manatee. Need for speed controls for boats using the waterways, both commercial and private. Currently timber collection (to High, currently receiving a supply fish smoking at Tanji and limited number of bird Ghana town), clearance for watchers. Reserve agriculture, potential road infrastructure not well development through reserve. developed. Proximity to a major tourist centre gives high potential.

Currently being used for limited bird-watching activities, and potential for increase in this sector.

Active clear felling currently under way for timber and agriculture.

Table 8 continued Site name


Habitat types

Ecological value

Tourism potential

5. Solifor point


Coastal woodland/scrub, inshore reef, laterite cliffs.

Moderate. Little available information. Potentially important for avifauna and botanically, possibly also geologically.

Good potential for development of coastal walkway with views from along cliff – Tanji to Tujering. None at present.

6. Tujering lagoons None

Coastal lagoon with mangrove salt pan fringe, also stabilised dunes with grassland/ shrub/woodland complex.

Moderate to high for avifauna, and possibly also botanically.

None 7. River Kakima delta – Kachuma forest

Outflow of the River Kakima. A mosaic of lagoons, mangrove, saltpan and stabilised dune vegetation, backed by a relic fringe of high coastal woodland (dominated by Rhun palm).

8. Dau Dula to Kartong


9. Kartong Point – Allahein river mouth


Potentially high – no assessment made to date. Outflow of the River Kakima. A mosaic of lagoons, mangrove, saltpan and stabilised dune vegetation, backed by a relic fringe of high coastal woodland (dominated by Rhun palm). Invariably high feeding value for resident and migratory birds. Forest of botanical importance. Coastal forest (Rhun palm High for forest, both botanically and for avifauna (potentially dom.) merging to scrubalso zoologically – though grassland in stabilised currently no data). Stabilised dune complex towards dune scrub of moderate value Kartong. for avifauna – limited data. Unknown, but potentially Coastal scrub/grassland on stabilised dune system, moderate to high, especially for avifauna, but possibly also lagoon complex, river botanically. estuary and mangrove fringe. Also Falonko crocodile pool at Kartong village with relic patch of riverine forest – very small (

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