China’s continued commitment to ensuring Sierra Leone achieve prosperity through the establishment of basic physical and organisational structures needed for the operation of the country since the two nations established diplomatic ties decades ago has once more been strongly demonstrated.
Sequel to the proposition of the Head of a six-man delegation from the Chinese National Fisheries Corporation, Wu Xiangfeng to establish a joint fisheries cooperation between the two countries, a representative of the corporation, Li Wen Hao has reassured the Minister of Fisheries, Joseph Koroma of their unwavering commitment to ensuring that the proposed agreement is signed and fully implemented.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Minster at his Youyi Building Office, Mr. Wenhao said the purpose of his meeting was to finalise arrangements for the meeting of the two parties in Las Palmas, Spain, at the end of May and the signing of the agreement in Beijing in July.
He reiterated his country’s desire to establish a fisheries development fund that would boost the country’s fisheries sector through the provision of adequate surveillance and monitoring systems and transfer of modern fishing technology to artisanal fishers among others.
He pledged his organisation’s desire to abide by rules governing the country’s fisheries sector and hoped some aspects of the country’s Fisheries management and Development Act, 1994 will be reviewed for the benefit of the two countries.
Responding, the minister of fisheries and marine resources, Joseph Koroma said the issue of a joint fisheries agreement with China has been taken very seriously by government and his staff because of the long standing, responsible and dependable bilateral trade cooperation between the two countries. He expressed the need for both sides to exchange the draft agreements so as to have one composite set that would facilitate the signing and implementation of the final agreement.
While informing the visitors about his ministry’s activities, Mr. Koroma said it is only now that his ministry is fully implementing bye laws and regulations of the 1994 fisheries Act and expressed the desire to review some of them.
The Fisheries Minister also used the occasion to inform the visitors that apart from being appointed to lead an International Conference on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, Sierra Leone has also been ranked as the first country in the world to stop the registration of fishing vessels with the International Ship Registry.
Minister Koroma also spoke about an international NGO, Environmental Justice Foundation’s determination to help promote responsible fisheries exploitation for an improved fish yields and income generation. The Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Haja Neneh Kandeh, Permanent Secretary, Ahmed Kemokai and Fisheries Director, Dr. MB Sesay were also in attendance.
Meanwhile, in pursuance of Government’s desire to foster a strong and sustainable inter ministerial cooperation in the public sector, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Joseph Koroma and his colleague Minster of Housing and Infrastructure Alimamy Koroma have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of a Boundary Wall at the Fish Farming Experimental Centre in Bo, Southern Province.
The signing of the agreement follows the recent assessment visit by the Minister and senior staff of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to fisheries outstations and fishing communities in the north and southern parts of the country.
According to the Agreement, the implementing partner, Ministry of Works Housing and Infrastructure is expected to carry out the services in a manner most suited to the requirements established under its terms of reference.
Implementation of the project which is worth over four hundred million Leones will commence soon and continue through 30th June 2010
By A. Max Konneh Press Officer, MFMR