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14th December 2018

Bonthe Fishermen Elated as Fisheries Minister Assures of Revamping Industry 

By Max A. Konneh (15/10/18)

The Minister of fisheries and Marine Resources, Emma Kowa Jalloh has assured Bonthe residents to assist in revamping their fishing industry.


Addressing fishing stakeholders in the Mania and Momaya fishing communities in Bonthe, following her recent visit to fishing communities in Kambia District, Minister Kowa Jalloh said the main thrust of her visit is to have a firsthand knowledge of fishing activities in the communities and the challenges facing them so as to help ameliorate them. (Photo: Minister Kowa, right, in hi-vis during the Bonthe visit).

While referring to fisheries as one of President Julius Maada Bio’s main priorities, she said government is fully aware of the district’s enormous fishing potential, adding that as a responsible government, they will do their utmost to ensure they are sustained and harnessed.

As a demonstration of her ministry’s desire to address their concerns and promote the policy of co-management in fisheries, Emma Kowa Jalloh disclosed plans to assign additional staff to the fishing communities. The Minister also took the opportunity to inform the fishing folks about plans by the ministry to embark on the registration of Artisanal Fishing boats nationwide with the aim of reckoning accurate data and information that would enable the ministry plan and implement activities that will have positive impact on their lives .

The minister who was earlier taken on a conducted tour of facilities of the ministry’s Fish Landing Site, informed her audience about plans to operate the facilities through a Public Private Partnership arrangement to ensure they are in full working condition and also informed them about the appointment of a National Master Fisherman to manage the affairs fisher folk in the country. She entreated communities to always comply with government’s policies and thanked them for the warm welcome accorded them.

Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Ibrahim Turay in his contribution, emphasized the importance of the Artisanal Fisheries sector as one of the main contributors to the county’s food self-sufficiency drive. He said the visit of a high powered delegation from the ministry was a manifestation of their desire to streamline the fisheries industry and promised to continue to engage the fisheries stakeholders.

Welcoming the minister and entourage, the Mayor of Bonthe Municipality, Layemin Joe Sandi thanked the minister and entourage for braving the turbulent Sherbro River to the island which he described as a once “thriving settlement” with multinational companies such as P.Z and C.F.A.O.

The sustainability of the livelihood of fisher folk in the region after the withdrawal of their illegal fishing nets by the previous government he said, has posed great challenges for them and appealed for the provision of standard fishing gears at affordable costs. He described the existing Fish Landing Facility in the municipality as deplorable and called on government to speedily revive it.

He thanked all stakeholders, especially the Sierra Leone Navy and ministry of fisheries for their collaboration in combating illegal fishing. At Mania Island, where the team was greeted with pomp and pageantry, Paramount Chief of Sittia Chiefdom, Thomas Koroma described the Island as a settlement with great touristic potential yet to be harnessed.

He outlined a number of challenges they are facing including the encroachment of trawlers into the Inshore Exclusive Zones and destruction of their gears and lives of fishermen and called on government to take the necessary actions that would protect them. He spoke of the vital role played in the past by an International Non Governmental Organisation, Environmental Justice Foundation in the fight against illegal fishing and called for the revival of its project which he said helped to minimize illegal fishing, promote employment and alleviate poverty in the region.

Representing the Sierra Leone Armed Forces Navy, Captain David Caulker said one of their responsibilities is to complement the effort of the ministry of fisheries and urged all to collaborate with them to help mitigate crime in the region. Community representatives, including Opinion Leaders who spoke on behalf of their compatriots heaped praises on the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Emma Kowa Jalloh for her unwavering commitment to ensuring that the district regains it past glory, especially in the area of fishing which serves as their major occupation, called for support to enable them engage in Semi Industrial Fishing so as to derive much benefit from their resources, provide jobs for youths and empower women through micro credit schemes, provide affordable fishing gears, and other social amenities such as schools, health centres with trained staff, roads and community centres.

Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Haja Mariatu Koroma said she was impressed with the congenial atmosphere of the settlement and pledged government commitment to ensuring that the district harnesses its full potential. Fisheries Officer in charge of Bonthe District, Sahr Sandy, who chaired the meetings, described the visit as a very important and historic event and entreated fisheries stakeholders to grab the opportunity.

Courtesy: By Max A. Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR


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