The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr. Soccoh Kabia has described the issues of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance of Sierra Leone’s territorial waters as critical to the exploitation and conservation of the country’s fisheries and marine resources.
Addressing a delegation from the Office of Counter Narcotics and Global Threats in the United States of America at his Youyi Building Office, Dr. Kabia noted the adverse effects of illegal, and unreported fishing, drugs trafficking among others on the country’s socio-economic development and emphasized the need to protect its territorial waters so as to ensure the resources are sustainably exploited for the benefit of the nation.
These illegal practices, he said could only be curbed through national and international efforts, while acknowledging that the Monitoring Control and Surveillance equipment donated by the US Government and the Joint US/ Sierra Leone patrol proved very useful. He looked forward to America’s continued assistance.
He said study has shown that Sierra Leone has the largest fish stock in the sub region, noting that fish accounts for 80% of the country’s protein base. Dr. Kabia also spoke of plans to streamline the Joint Maritime Committee, comprising all stakeholders so as to achieve its goals.
The leader of the visiting team, William Wechsler underscored the need for proper monitoring of the country’s territorial waters, citing a number of nefarious activities such as the trafficking of narcotics.
He spoke of efforts made by the US government to enhance the country’s monitoring capability such as the provision of Radars and Automatic Information Systems and pledged further support.
By A. Max Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR