Fisheries Minister opens forum on establishment of Fisheries Council


July 10, 2015 By A Max Konneh

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Capt. Momodu Allieu Pat-Sowe, has called on stakeholders in the fisheries sector to put aside their differences and work towards promoting issues relating to development of the industry in Sierra Leone.

The minister made this statement while officially opening a two-day stakeholders’ leadership workshop on the establishment of the Sierra Leone Fisheries Council, a body that would serve as an umbrella organization for fishers in the country.

Addressing a large number of various organizations in the sector at the conference hall of his ministry, Capt. Pat-Sowe underscored the important role private sector and civil society groups are playing in the utilization and management of the country’s marine resources and fight against the Ebola pandemic. He urged the fishers to renounce all forms of vices that would disunite them, stressing that the forum will chart the way forward for the establishment of ‘one fisher organization’ that would address their welfare  with ‘one voice’.

The Fisheries Minister spoke of the various initiatives his ministry has introduced in a bid to develop the industry, including the construction of fish landing sites, provision of surveillance boats, marine training institute, proposed fish harbour and cold rooms, provision of fishing nets and recruitment of fisheries officers, among others. He warned against using illegal methods of fishing and entreated them to cooperate with his ministry so as to ensure the nation derives maximum benefit from the industry.

Acting Director of Fisheries, Mohamed Bushura Cole, encouraged the fishers to endeavour to form a unified and formidable organization that would promote their interest as well as that of the general public. He expressed his ministry’s profound determination to cooperate with them.

Coordinator of the programme, Sheku Sei, described the event as key activity under the five-year plan of fisheries development strategy (Fisheries Wealth for National Prosperity) for Sierra Leone under review. As a key private sector player in the fishing industry, he said the inputs and participation of fisher folks will contribute to the establishment of a fisheries council to represent the interest of fisheries stakeholders to increase fisheries benefit and promote sustainable fisheries.

Making his presentation, one of the consultants, Dr. Andrew Baio, described the proposed council as a ‘clearing house’ for fisheries management and called for total participation of stakeholders, capacity building initiatives and a national consultative conference, among others, to ensure the programme is fully implemented.

Acting Head of Institute of Marine Biology and Oceanography, USL, Dr. Raymond Johnson, noted that all fisheries policies are developed by the sector for the benefit of fishers and urged them to help give the council a national outlook.

Meaningful contributions on issues such as composition, funds, roles and constitution of the organisatoin were made by participants at the forum, which was chaired by the Senior Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Kalilu O Bah.