NEPAD/DFID pledge support to Fisheries Ministry
The Senior Fisheries Advisor to the New Partnership for Africa Development Agency (NEPAD) Dr. Sloans Chimatiro has expressed his organisation and the Department for International Development Agency, (DFID) desire to assist the Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry develop the country’s fisheries industry in a number of areas, including Trade, Quality Control, Governance, Aquaculture, Monitoring, Control and Surveillance. (Photo: Minister of Marine Resources and Fishery Dr Soccoh Alex Kabia)
Addressing senior members of the ministry and other stakeholders at a two- day retreat held at the Eden Park, Mama Beach in the Western Area Rural District, Dr. Chimatiro said the forum will create an opportunity for officials of the ministry to provide guidance to NEPAD with regard to areas which the organisation and their partners, under the partnership for African Fisheries (PAF), will be able to play in the country’s endeavour to restructure its fisheries for growth and wealth generation.
He said Africa has not been able to benefit from fish trade because of poor conditions and cited steps taken to ensure fisheries and marine resources in Africa contribute to food security and economic development, including the creation of regional platforms for dialogue.
The forum he said came as a result of a memorandum between NEPAD and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the funding of the West African Pilot Programme (WAPP) which aim is to complement on-going support by other partners to the fisheries ministry as well as close the capacity gaps that might arise.
Dr. Chimatiro said many African countries take fish stock for granted because it is high, saying that if not properly managed, will reduce considerably due to unsavoury practices. “Our interest is to ensure that Fisheries Resources make a difference in adding to economic development” he said.
The Fisheries Expert commended staff of the ministry and stakeholders for their relentless effort in introducing initiatives that would enhance the development of fisheries and hoped a global platform for policy makers to meet and dialogue will be created.
Addressing participants at the forum, the minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr. Soccoh Kabia who described fisheries as an asset, lamented that it has not been fully exploited.
He expressed the fear that resources from the extractive industry which has been given too much attention will eventually disappear and stressed the need to exploit the country’s fisheries resources in a responsible manner.
He noted that the programme will help the ministry identify existing gaps and how they could addressed in terms of support to ensure enhance development in the fisheries sector.
Dr. Soccoh emphasised the role played by the fisheries industry in national development and expressed the need to supplemental support key component of the industry, including Aquaculture. He thanked NEPAD for the initiative and hoped it objectives will be attained.
Giving a presentation on the crucial role of fish resource wealth in fisheries management and reform, a NEPAD Consultant, Stephen Cunningham said globally exploited fish stocks make little fiscal contribution because of the failure to understand the importance of resource wealth in driving the process and management focus on the symptoms of the problems, especially over fishing.
The Acting Director of Fisheries, Alpha Bangura while giving a brief background of his ministry, said it has a long history of cordial working relationship with partners dating as far back as the 1970s. Mr. Bangura noted a number of challenges inhibiting the successful implementation of projects in the ministry, not least the lack of legal framework and inadequate staff. He thanked NEPAD for their gesture and assured them of the ministry cooperation.
The programme which was attended by representatives from various stakeholder organisations and institutions, including the Institute of Marine Boilogy and Oceanography, Navy, Sierra Leone Fishermen Union and Ministry of Health was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the fisheries ministry, Ahmed Kemokai.
By A. Max Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR
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