Sierra Leone Parliament Engages Fishing Companies
The Committee on Fisheries in Parliament on Friday, 29th March, 2019 engaged fishing companies at Committee Room 3 in Parliament. (Photo: cross section of owners of fishing companies)
In her presentation, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Emma Kowa spoke on the support they have been given to the fishing industries and dilated on the gains the Ministry have made so far in terms of employing staff and other development sector.
‘’We have engaged people at the Gbalamuya crossing point to make sure no single fish is smuggled or exported to neighboring countries’’, she told audience and mentioned that all fish exportation would be banned this month.
She discussed that there are about seven registered processing plant 12 industrial fishing companies which are fully paying taxes.
She discussed that the Artisanal Fisherman Consortium will monitor the location of vessels to prevent illegal fishing within our territorial waters and emphasized that fish is the cheapest product in Sierra Leone than any other country in the sub-region. She spoke on the various species of fish we have in our waters and assured that they are monitoring situation to ensure the right thing done to protect our marine resources.
She deliberated on the Ministry’s expectation to have enough fish in water with high quality protein through preservation and maintained that as a Ministry, they are empowering local people to continue fishing so that they would bring fresh fish.
‘’We have a task force comprised the Police, ONS, Navy and Trade Monitors to protect our water’’, she stated and lamented that if the water environment is not conducive, it would cause danger to our natural resources and discussed that if our marine resources are protected, our people’s life would be protected.
The Minister assured that, they have equipped and experienced officers in the ministry to perform the task and stressed that they would not issue out license for fish exportation this year.
She reported that the marine and navy wing have impounded three foreign vessels which have parked until the commencement of the closing season for coming into our territorial waters without a working permit and submitted that they needed the help of Parliament to start enforcing laws that would protect the marine environment.
She concluded by assuring that there is no need to hike prices of fish in the market during the closing season which will start soon.
The Chairperson for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Honorable Alusine Kanneh, Constituency 013, Kenema District and Deputy Chief Whip said the committee has a lot to do in finding solution to the problem of marine resources with regard water pollution.
He discussed that Goal 14.2 in the SDG’s talked about the essence of protecting marine and coastal ecosystem and reiterated that the Government is pushing harder to kick against illegal fishing activities.
In her presentation, Chairperson on Health Committee in Parliament, Honorable Josephine started with the slogan ‘’Health is wealth’’ and sensitized that we need lot of preventive measures to maintain sound health system. He said the essence of health is paramount in the Ministry of Fisheries.
Honorable Catherine Zainab Tarawallie representing Bombali District, Constituency 037 spoke on the challenge involves working with the 1998 Fishing Regulation Act and mentioned the problem of labor officers.
‘’We want to see a synergy between the Ministry of Fisheries and Ministry of Labor’’, she said and spoke on the important for labor officers to roam in those fishing companies to protect the rights of laborers and blamed labor officers for not performing that function. She therefore urged the Minister of Labor to double up effort and appealed for foreign workers to obtain working permit before implementing any project.
By Amira Tatayea Bangura
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