June 25, 2018
“As a big responsible fisheries country, China has always required all Chinese fishing companies working overseas must abide by the laws and regulations of the host countries.” The Director-General of the Bureau of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs(MARA) of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Xianliang, made the statement on Monday, 18th June, during the first Sierra Leone-China Joint Fisheries Committee (JFC) meeting held at Bintumani hotel.
The JFC was established by the MARA of China and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) of Sierra Leone, according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed last October in Beijing.
“China has been constantly strengthening overseas fisheries management and regulations and it is also our hope that strengthening fisheries cooperation with other countries like Sierra Leone and combating illegal fishing together. In recent years, China has received letters from some countries and international organizations for multiple times, saying that Chinese fishing vessels in Sierra Leone and other African countries have illegal operations, due to the non-existence of fisheries cooperation mechanism between our two countries, China lacks authority channels to check the authenticity of such allegations, ”he said.
“Thanks to this meeting, China and Sierra Leone has established a bilateral fisheries cooperation mechanism, including an information communication mechanism, which can strengthen our cooperation even further,” Zhang Xianliang said.
“From now on, if there are any illegal activities of Chinese fishing vessels in Sierra Leone, we would like to ask Sierra Leone side to notify China immediately. China will investigate and deal with those cases according to the laws and regulations.We hope that those alleged illegal vessels and the problems can be solved through consultation and communication in our bilateral cooperation mechanism without the participation or interference of the third country or international organizations. ”
The Vice Minister of the MARA of China Yu Kangzhen added that the position of Chinese Government was very clear that opposing any kind of illegal fishing activities, China has been cracking down hardly on illegal fishing activities.
Since 2016, 264 Chinese fishing vessels have been punished for infringement of the relevant rules and laws and 10 Chinese ocean fisheries companies’ fishing permits have been cancelled or suspended.
He reiterated that any violation of the rules and laws will face the full penalty of the Chinese government.
“Currently, those Chinese fishing vessels licensed to operate in Sierra Leonean waters meet the requirements both sides. If there are any changes in Sierra Leone’s policy on fisheries in the future, please let us know. We will make some adjustments of our requirement accordingly. We would like to fight against illegal fishing activities through close cooperation and sound communications between the ides to ensure a long term friendly partnership in fisheries industry and make it developing in health way, and benefit Sierra Leonean people,” Minister Yu said.