The New Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Haja Afsatu Kabba on Monday gave stern warnings to trawlers and boat owners engaging in illegal fishing in the country.
Addressing members of the Sierra Leone Artisanal Fishermen Union (SLAFU) at her office, Haja Afsatu Kabba told them that anyone caught fishing illegally will be arrested and even jailed, adding that illegal fishing has affected our country’s revenue drive.
The Minister noted that she is ready to work in ensuring that the fishing sector becomes more vibrant than other sectors in the country.
She cautioned the association members to be watchful in their communities in which they operates to ensure that illegal and smuggling of our fish stops.
The Minister further urged them to work in unity as that is the only way this country could move forward.
Kabba pointed out that African Development Bank (ADB) is ready to give loans to fishermen but people have to pay the outstanding loans of Le1.8billion that are yet to be salvaged from them.
She further promised to look in to their problems highlighted and to restore their lost glory.
National Coordinator of SLAFU Thomas Spencer explained that their association was formed in order to increase the catch of fish and also look in to the problems faced by fishermen.
He also told the Minister of how dangerous fishing has affected the fishing industry thus reducing the revenue in the country.
The Coordinator thanked the Minister for the role she has played towards the development even before coming to her current Ministry.
He promised his association’s total support to work with the ministry to end dangerous fishing in the country.
Spencer further informed the Minister that there are 530 harbors with employment of 400,000 people country wide in the fishing industry.
Also, he asked that the Ministry help them to acquire loans, promising that they will pay back.
Chairlady of the Fish Mongers, Mabinty Komboi asked the Minister to help them in areas of vehicles to transport their fish to the provinces, good roads and stores for their products.
Director of Fisheries Mohamed Fouad Sheriff said that their ministry has good working relationship with the ministry and also provide overseas training for them.
By Abibatu Kamara