To improve on fish farming the minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr Moses Kapu, and a representative from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Gamal Ahmed have signed a $327,000 technical assistance three-year project for fish farming.
Addressing journalists and senior staff yesterday at the ministry, the minister said he appreciated and was happy over the project which would increase yield for fish pond to 1500kg per hectare per year.
He said, “the objectives of the project is to assist the ministry in establishing sustainable, private-sector driven fish farming by developing pilot sustainable production”.
The minister noted that it would also ensure reliable private supplies of quality fish seed, introducing farmer-friendly aquaculture technologies to both farmers and extensionists and identifying appropriate strategic approaches to aquaculture that, when applied, would strengthen institutions and further increase productivity.
Dr Kapu maintained that sustainable aquaculture would be profitable and would also make positive contributions to national fish supply, adding that sustainable aquaculture would promote the anticipated positive outcome from Operation Feed The Nation (OFTN).
The minister intimated that, “Sierra Leone has relied heavily on its coastal fisheries for the supply of fish to its market as well as a source of revenue and employment”.
Marine fish stock, he said, had been exploited by a variety of small-scale fishing units along with mechanized trawlers for over 40 years.
On his own part, Jamal Ahmed from FAO said the projects would improve the livelihood of rural fish farmers and contributes to the development of the country.
He added that international experts from FAO would be joining national experts in implementing this project.
Mr Ahmed noted that, “FAO is building big hopes in the project which will improve the agriculture sector and to make it a more viable institution”.
Arthur Jones, director of Fisheries and Marine Resources, said the primary aim of signing the document between the ministry and FAO was to develop inland fishing and acquaculture for fish farmers in the rural areas where they could not get fish.
The project, the director maintained, would ensure that rural people develop their own business and create jobs for the youth.
He noted that the assistant would also train observers who would act as government watch dog, and that they would also ensure that vessel fish in a legal and sustainable manner.
He added that these observers would also record catch statistics which was important for stock assessment model.