February 27, 2017
Sierra Leone will receive US$4 million from the World Bank Group’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) for strengthening the national legal and regulatory framework, institutional development, strengthening fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.
According to a release from the bank,a large part of the funding will be used for supporting coastal communities to have better fishing practices, handling, processing and storing of fisheries products and data collection. Funding will also be provided for livelihoods transfer grants to individuals in fishing communities to better improve livelihoods.
The release noted that funding for the fisheries sector in West Africa has been provided through the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP) which is a program covering Cape Verde, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
“Funding for the Sierra Leone component had been halted in 2014. This grant signals re-engagement of World Bank in the fisheries sector,” the release noted.
The grant agreement was signed between the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Momodu L. Kargbo and the World Bank Country Manager, Parminder Brar on 8th February 2017. The negotiations for this grant were led by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR).
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development welcomes this new grant from the World Bank for the fisheries sector, which has proven to be crucial for food security during and after the Ebola outbreak,” said Momodu L. Kargbo, Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
“This grant is a step in the right direction to begin the second phase of WARFP preparation and will help support the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to improve the management and regulation of the fisheries sector to ensure the sustainability of our fisheries resource.”
Long-term economic, social, and ecological success in the fisheries sector requires awareness and behavior change at all levels. The project will help strengthen the capacity at both the Ministry level and the community level so both the top-down and bottom-up approaches can play important roles.
“The fisheries sector currently provides close to 80% of the protein to the population of the country. This sector has great potential to further increase food, nutrition, employment, and income to Sierra Leoneans,” said Parminder Brar, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.
“Sierra Leone has one of the best fishing grounds in the world that need to be nurtured for harvesting the wealth of the ocean in a sustainable manner. It is good that the Government has taken proactive steps to strengthen the Joint Monitoring Centre and the patrol boat has been active. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that revenues from fisheries are increased, the artisanal sector and fishing communities are strengthened and illegal fishing is reduced.”
The fisheries sector in Sierra Leone has the potential to bring food security and boost the country’s revenue, as it supports direct employment of around 100,000 people and indirect employment of as much as 10% of the population. The country could sustainably generate US$186 million each year, US$74 million of which can be generated from the industrial segment targeting high value species (demersal).
The West Africa Regional Fisheries Program’s development objective is to support countries to maintain or increase priority fish stocks and the benefits that they can provide to the region, with a focus on benefits for poverty reduction and food security.