June 26, 2018
By Max A. Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Emma Kowa Jalloh has called on Industrial Fishing Companies to work in line with President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction Agenda so as to help in transforming the industry into a viable entity.
Addressing a representative group of the Sierra Leone Fishing Industries Association at the Conference Hall of her ministry, Hon. Kowa Jalloh said she acknowledged the daunting challenges facing the sector, saying that the meeting was convened to enable them discuss issues affecting the industry and chart the way forward.
She reminded them about the dwindling nature of the country’s revenue which she added, has created the need for government to prioritise the fisheries sector and expressed optimism that under the New Direction Agenda, it will be restored to its past glory.
Disclosing plans to ensure compliance with laws, policies and regulations of the ministry, she said her ministry will review criteria for the licensing of fishing vessels and fish processing plants, with simple guidelines and updates on issues that would benefit the country and investors.
Hon. Kowa Jalloh expressed concern over the poor conditions of some of the fishing companies and processing plants in the country and urged the owners to ensure they meet international standards. She also disclosed plans to revisit the licensing fees for Shrimp, Tuna vessels Semi Industrial vessels and criteria for Fishing Agents.
She encouraged fishing companies to consider government’s avowed Local Content Policy which promotes development and empowerment of local employees and investors.
The minister also urged them to always ensure that fish is available in the Local markets and warned against Twin fishing and other forms of illegal fishing which are inimical to the development of the industry.
She also expressed the need to resolve the continuous conflicts between Industrial and Artisanal fishers, undertake scientific research and assessment of fish stocks, payment of Fisheries Observers from a separate account, use of International Maritime Organisation, IMO flag of convenience, Number by fishing vessels and create a private Vessel Monitoring System operated by a private sector firm.
The Acting Director of fisheries, Kadijatu Jalloh underscored the need to introduce reforms and revisit current policies, regulations governing the industry to meet the present trend.
She expressed concern over the influx of fishing companies and Processing Plants, some of which, she said operate illegally and emphasized the need to regulate them.
Acting Deputy Director of fisheries, Josephus Mamie said the reforms will enable fishing companies work within prescribed rules and do the right thing. He informed the companies about the newly printed Fisheries Act which he said will soon be popularized.
The Permanent Secretary, Mariatu Koroma spoke about the deplorable conditions of some Fishing Companies and highlighted the need to give them the requisite training. Head of Fisheries Protection Unit, Victor Kargbo entreated the companies to always abide by the laws and described the illegal practice of some Semi industrial fishing companies in the country as a “Security Threat”.
He disclosed plans to install Automatic Information Systems onboard Semi Industrial vessels for monitoring purposes. President of the Sierra Leone Fishing Companies Associations, Bassem Mohamed while congratulating the new minister, said they are fully aware of the constraints government is facing in terms of revenue generation and pledged his association’s continued support.
He called on the ministry to fully involve them at every stage of the review process so as to enable them make meaningful contributions.
Mr. Mohamed revealed that his company has hired the service of a private firm to undertake a study on licensing fees of industrial fishing vessels in the sub region to ascertain whether they are in tandem or not.
Meaningful contributions, geared towards promoting an effective management of the fishing industry were also made by representatives from other fishing companies, including Annsenkal, Penninsular, Okeky Agencies, Korea Group and Afric Fishing companies.
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