Marine Minister assures coastal fishing communities
Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Dr. Soccoh Kabia has assured fisher folks at Shenge in the Moyamba District and Konakridee in the Portloko District of Government’s determination to transform the marine and fisheries resources sector into an enviable and viable entity. (Photo: Dr. Kabia (left), P.C. Lenga Koroma(centre) and A.A..Bangura( right) with entourage)
Speaking to fisheries stakeholders during his visit to the regions, Dr. Kabia spoke of strategies his ministry is putting in place to ensure that fisheries and marine resources are well managed to enhance food security, economic growth and prosperity.
Dr. Kabia’s ministry intends to address challenging issues such as Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing through the principle of co-management with full community participation. He urged the fishing communities to renounce bad fishing methods and complement Government’s effort in curbing illegal fishing. He disclosed plans by his ministry to facilitate the purchase and sale of standard fishing nets and gears to them at subsidised costs and create a revolving fund for community development. He reminded the people of Shenge of the importance their newly constructed fish landing site and entreated them to make the use of its facility which he said will soon be handed over to them.
Dr. Kabia intimated that frantic efforts are being made to construct the Moyamba/Shenge highway to reduce post harvest losses and also revealed plans to empower the Artisanal fisheries sector in the registration of small scale fishing boats. He informed his audience about projects to be implemented by the newly established West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme, including the construction of a fish landing site, rehabilitation of the Lungi Airport/Konakridee road and provision of incentives for value addition and wealth creation.
Stressing the importance of boat registration Dr. Kabia said his ministry has the sole right to issue licences to foreign fishing vessels and entreated them to help conserve fisheries and marine resources. He added that the function of small fishing boats registration has since been devolved to local councils.
The Paramount Chief of Kagboro Chiefdom, Moyamba District, Doris Lenga Koroma thanked Government and partners for constructing a modern fish landing site in the Chiefdom and called on the authorities to address issues raised by her subjects, including the construction of the road leading to the site and improvement of other facilities.
The Acting Director of Fisheries, Alpha Bangura described Shenge Fisheries Outstation as one of the oldest and first sites to implement projects relating to fisheries. He highlighted some the challenges facing the ministry, including weak surveillance, monitoring and control capacity, inadequate infrastructure and staff.
The Paramount Chief of Kafu bullom Chiefdom, P.C.Bai Shebora Sheba Gbereh, appreciated the numerous strides government has taken to transform his chiefdom. His chiefdom, he said has a huge fisheries potential and pledged their support to help harness and manage the resources.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Abu Kemokai described the fisheries sector as one of government’s main sources of revenue and thanked the fishing communities for their contributions.
The Programme which also heard statements from representatives of the Environmental Justice Foundation and West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme and local councils was climaxed by presentations of topics not least, on the registration of fishing canoes, illegal fishing methods and improvement of livelihoods in fishing communities and a conducted tour of the new fish landing site.
By A.Max Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR
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