April 17, 2019
By Jariatu S Bangura
Members of Parliament have yesterday ratified two fishing agreements that would facilitate the importation of fish to the European Union market, and help stop illegal and unregulated fishing in the Sierra Leonean waters.
The two agreements are geared towards promoting compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas and the implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea of 10 December 1982- relating to the Conservation and Management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks respectively.
During her presentation, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Emma Kowa-Jalloh, said the ratification of the two agreements will enhance fair ride into the EU market and also ensure that any vessel that want to fly the country’s flag must seek clearance from the Ministry of Fisheries.
She said the ministry would be monitoring all the activities of the vessels and countries that are flying the flags of Sierra Leone.
She stated that the ministry will be working with the artisanal fishermen in order to protect and stop illegal fishing across the country. Hon.Emma Kowa Jalloh said it was vital as a country to pass the agreements into law, as it will show that the country was ready to do business with foreign countries.
Chairperson of the Fisheries Committee in Parliament, Hon. L
Neneh Lebbi, commended the minister and team for bringing such documents to the House for ratification, as the country has far lag behind in terms of development.
She said management and conservation were key in the development of any institution, hence it was necessary that the country complied with international conventions.
She said the ratification was very important and must be accomplished and domesticated.
She noted that the monitory aspect was not good due to the fact that there was no place to address the situation, but do know that with the ratification, that will be achieved.
Hon. William Joseph Lamin said the United Nations and other countries must be sincere in helping the country rather than fading away all in the name of compliance issues.
He said now that the country was about to ratify the agreement, they do hope that things will change for good.
“They must be giving the country support as and when necessary and should not wait when problem arises.”
Hon. Kekurah Vandi said for far too long, many things have gone wrong and that the Fisheries Ministry was one of the major sources of revenue.
Hon. Sahr Charles noted that it was sad to know that the country was facing challenges in terms of flying its flag without the ratification of the agreements.
He appealed that the Ministry puts robust measures in place in making sure that Sierra Leoneans benefit from their resources.