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Sierra Leone Business: Fisheries Ministry to implement “Closed Session” fishing activities

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and its stakeholders will be implementing a “close session” on fishing activities as part of its management measure to avoid depletion.  In a public notice issued by the Ministry dated 6th March 2019, the closed session will begin from the 1st to 30th April 2019.  The Ministry and stakeholders agreed on the following measures during the period of closure. There will be no industrial fishing activities along with a ban on the export of fish from both industrial and fish processing plants by land, sea, and air. Artisanal fishermen consortium are to ensure that all fish caught is sold to the local market. The industrial fishing company the ministry says should stock their cold rooms with different fish species (the number of fish to be stocked by each company will be calculated based on the number of vessels operated by these companies). This is to ensure that there is no shortage of fish in the market.  The Ministry will work closely with key stakeholders to intensify monitoring and surveillance of our waters to ensure compliance. Harbour master of the Tombo Fishing community, John Obi, said they are delighted by the public notice from the Ministry. Fishing activities in their community he says remains a serious challenge because of the intrusion by neighbouring countries coming to fish in their waters, which poses a serious threat to the sector.  “Fishing vessels that come to fish in our shores use sophisticated machines that destroy our own fishing gears” Obi said. He therefore called on the Fisheries Minister to continue to pay more attention to their plight.  Buya Kamara, a fisherman in the same community said business is getting worse by the day. “Industrial fishing companies that fish in those areas destroyed their fishing gears. While we are doing it manually they do theirs with electronic machine. Consequently, our fishing gears got destroyed, and to replace them costs a lot of money” he added.  Another resident in the community complains of the huge increase in the price of fish. She said fish price has doubled up in recent times, and therefore spend more than what she used to spend in cooking.

By Sulaiman Karim Sesay

Monday March 11, 2019.

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