Sierra Leone News: Fisheries revenue jump by Le20bn -Pres. Bio

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:30th May, 2019: Control and Surveillance

President Julius Maada Bio, has disclosed that revenue generated from the fisheries and marine sector has increased by Le20 billion from Le 74 billion in 2017 to Le 94 billion in 2018. He made this disclosure while addressing Members of Parliament (MPs), members of the Diplomatic core and the public on the official state opening of the second session of the fifth Parliament on Thursday 3rd May 2019.

According to him, due to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities, his Government inherited a fisheries and marine sector with great revenue losses. He disclosed that due to stringent measures and a proactive Minister in post, within a year of governance Government has harmonized the industrial fishing license fees and other charges with those in the sub-region and facilitated the harmonization of licensing fees of small artisanal canoes across all local councils.

Addressing the perpetual challenge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, President Bio, disclosed Government has deleted all fishing vessels/ fishing related and fish cargo vessels from the International Fishing Registry of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration that were registered under “Flag of Convenience.” “In an effort to address the huge infrastructure deficit in the sector, Government has rehabilitated fish ponds, including fencing of the Bo Aquaculture Station, and rehabilitated Fisheries Extension Outstations at Conakry-dee, Tombo, and Gbondapi,” he disclosed that Government has signed an MOU with the Chinese Government for the construction of a US$70 million fish harbor.

Another challenge facing the fishing industry has to do with an oven which fishermen have been agitating for over the years. In response to this, President Bio maintained, Government has signed a partnership agreement with Iceland for a $3.2m project to construct improved fish smoke ovens, water and sanitation and hygiene improvement, analysis of data from Vessel Monitoring System and training on the law of the sea. He said Government is recruiting 52 lower and upper cadre staffs to enhance efficient and effective fisheries management, and have also trained 300 fish processors/fishermen in improved fish processing and quality management, employed additional Fisheries Enumerators and Fisheries Assistant, formed an umbrella body of fishermen herein referred to as the Artisanal.

According to him, the Ministry is also implementing Fisheries Stock Assessment through the Scientific Observer Programme and it has enhanced the monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing vessels by ensuring regular patrols and utilization of Vessel Monitoring System and Fisheries Observers. “A total of about $700,000 was generated by government through fines for various fisheries infractions,” He averred, disclosing Government implemented a ‘closed season’ in order to rebuild fish stock between April 1 and 30, 2019 as sustainable best practice the world-over for managing fish stock.

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