“The enactment of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Regulation is one of the prerequisites for rescinding the yellow card issued on Sierra Leone fisheries product by the European Union in 2016,” said the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Emma Kowa-Jalloh. She made the statement recently in the well of the Sierra Leone parliament while tabling the Fisheries and Aquaculture Regulation 2019 for its possible subsequent ratification. She noted that the issues surrounding sustainable fisheries were paramount in development for a, more so as there was the emerging concept of blurry economy, the attainment of SDGs Goal 14, which urges states to conserve and sustainably use their oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. She added that Sierra Leone, like many other coastal countries was working ‘assiduously’ to achieve Goal 14 of the SDGs, noting, that this would not be impossible without proper reforms and robust fisheries laws and regulations in the country’s fisheries sector.
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“The modernization of the fisheries law of Sierra Leone is imperative as our legal instruments have been criticized by both national and international experts,” the Minister of Fisheries confessed.Kowa-Jalloh furthered that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources supported those views, thus, the need for modernization of legal instruments. The new regulation, according to Kowa-Jalloh’s presentation makes a clear distinction between ‘serious and very serious offences’ and prescribes fines and penalties relative to the nature of offence. “The regulation also addresses the issue of high seas fisheries governance, environmental degradation of the sea and ocean largely due to activities related to fisheries, she posited. Kowa-jalloh went on to say that the enactment of a new Fisheries and Aquaculture Regulation was key to implementing the activities and actions needed to achieve one of the core priority actions that would guide and directly contribute to achieving Goal 1 of the mid-term National Development Plan of the fisheries sector, improving the productivity and sustainable management of the fisheries through combating illegal fishing. Members of the Sierra Leone Parliament will at a later date look at the merits and demerits of the said regulation, which would give them the leverage to either give it a go-ahead or not.
By Abdulai Gbla
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