…fear their boats may be destroyed
April 18, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Although a new modern landing site has been constructed at Tombo, a vibrant fishing community in the Western Rural District, fishermen have expressed fear of landing their boats on the site because of the rocky terrain, which may destroy their boats.
The Tombo landing site is one of four landing sites that were constructed by the Ministry of Fisheries under the World Bank supported West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP) project. The others are situated at Goderich, Bonthe Island and Shenge.
The aim was to help ensure that fish catch from Sierra Leone gets to the European market, which could bring foreign exchange to the country.
At present, marine products from Sierra Leone are banned from entering the European market because of poor handling due to the lack of modern landing site.
At the moment, fishermen at Tombo have decided not to land their fishing boats at the site because of its rocky condition. They were with the conviction that if they attempt to land their boat at the site, it will be destroyed by the rocks.
According to Daniel Bendu, owner of a fishing boat at Tombo, he will not land his boat at the modern landing site because the jetty is not paved and the rocks could destroy boats.
“The cost of constructing these boats is very expensive especially when the price of the boards that are used to construct them is increasing every now and again. So it is not good to have it destroyed easily,” he said.
Another fisherman, Abdul Kalokoh, who also owns a boat at Tombo, told Concord Times after raising several concerns with the authorities, they recently saw some people who claimed to have been contracted to pave it.
The jetty, he said, has several facilities which could help them process and package their fish catch within hygienic condition, but it has to be paved before they could use it.
Amongst the challenges they face, Kalokoh disclosed, are lack of cold room at Tombo to get ice their fish catch. He revealed they buy ice from mobile refrigerators which sell to fishermen on a daily basis.
Max Konneh, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), said Neptune Company had been contracted to pave the landing site, under Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement, to salvage the problem.
“The fishermen themselves should have told you because some of them are members of the committee that has been formed to address that problem,” he said.