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Sierra Leone News: Chinese fishing company apologises to Salone gov’t

L-R: Bassem Sahid, Josephus Mamie, Amb. Wu Peng & Counselor Zhang Xuejin

Chair of Huang Fishing Company Mr Ho on Thursday at the Chinese Embassy apologised to the Ministry of Fisheries and the government for breaking the law by going out to fish without a fishing monitor onboard the boat. He said they are apologising and they promise that they will never break the law again. “As the chairman of the Company, I want to apologize for breaking the law. We had done the deep self-researching after the issue and we realized that our actions would not only be harmful for the long-term interest of our company, but also will be bad to the overall image of the Chinese Fishing companies in Sierra Leone, and even affect the bilateral relations between China and Sierra Leone.” He averred that he wished that other Chinese Fishing companies could learn from their mistake as it is a lesson for all of them to have a better understanding of the fisheries laws in Sierra Leone, and to obey them accordingly. “However, after we had been penalised and have promised the Chinese Ambassador Wu Peng that it would never happen again, we want to donate some fishing gears worth $2,000 to the local fishermen to show our deep regret. We will hand over all the fishing gears to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and kindly request them to deliver to the local fishermen.” Deputy Director of Fisheries, Josephus Mamie commended the Chinese Ambassador for convening the short conference and also Huang Fishing Company for admitting to their mistake, paying the fine and then making a $2,000 donation. “I am very pleased that the Chinese Embassy is looking out for their companies and making sure they obey the laws of the land. Calling such meeting and receiving an apology on behalf of the country means a lot to us as we commend the Ambassador for making sure that the Fishing companies must obey the laws of the land at all times.” He said very soon they will make sure that all the laws are translated into Chinese to help these companies so that they would not fall foul of the laws in the future. “Fish is very important to the people of Sierra Leone and the Chinese vessels have been doing well to supply the market. I want to commend them for that and want also to admonish them to continue to obey the laws as ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Ambassador Wu Peng thanked the Fisheries Ministry for their support and promised to continue to dialogue with the fishing companies to make sure they obey all the fishing laws if they are to continue doing business in Sierra Leone. He said in the last 10 years, Chinese fishing companies have played a large role in socio-economic contributions. “Firstly, with the Chinese fishing- companies’ involvement, the fishery sector has become the second economy pillar and a major revenue source for the government of Sierra Leone.” He said China-Sierra Leone fishing corporations create nearly 30,000 direct or indirect jobs for local people, and the corporation is enhancing the fishing capacity of Sierra Leone. “Most of the fish caught by Chinese fishing companies were sold in domestic markets, very affordable to the people and they are of good quality, as fish is a major source of protein for over 80% of Sierra Leone population. During this whole process of trying to contribute more to Sierra Leone’s fishery industry, our Embassy has always required Chinese fishing companies working here must abide by the laws and regulations of Sierra Leone.” He said they are happy to see that almost all of their fishing companies meet this requirement very well.  He said according to the report of the Ministry of fisheries, the vessel Hua’ang was fishing without a fishing observer onboard. Amb Wu said apart from that, there is no other inappropriate behavior. “Hua’ang Fishing Company fully respects the Ministry’s report and accepts punishment meted out to them by the Ministry of Fisheries. Today, I am glad to hear that Hua’ang has announced additional volunteer donation to local community as it offers its sincere apology.” Ambassador Wu Peng stressed that he wants to say it again that the position of Chinese Government is very clear that they oppose any kind of illegal fishing activities, any violation of the rules and laws will face the full penalty of their government. “I require all Chinese vessels working here must avoid any illegal fishing activities in the Sierra Leone coastal waters, and must respect the Sierra Leonean Government’s supervision and abide by the legislation and regulation of Sierra Leone. All the companies should work as a development partner with Sierra Leone Authorities to make the fishing industry develop in a healthy way, that will benefit Sierra Leonean.”

AT/1/11/18

Friday November 02, 2018.

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