The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has donated laboratory equipment and Chemicals worth over three hundred thousand US dollars to the Institute of Marine Biology and Oceanography in the University of Sierra Leone.
The gesture which was highly appreciated and acclaimed by students and authorities of the University is aimed at contributing to the capacity building efforts of the Institute which lost its entire laboratory, museum and Library during the war.
Addressing beneficiaries at the Institute’s Auditorium, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Joseph Koroma described the occasion as a symbol of linkage between the public sector and University of Sierra Leone and called on other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to enhance the capacity of the University in building a strong and reliable human resource base in the country.
Hon. Koroma mentioned lack of much needed research as one of the obstacles affecting the country’s industrialization process and assured the institute of his Ministry’s desire to promote the institute’s activities.
He urged the institute to engage in active research work that would help generate enough revenue for self reliance.
While dilating on the huge potential of the fisheries sector, the Minister outlined a number of measures his Ministry has embarked upon to revamp the Ministry including the establishment of fisheries infrastructure and ancillary facilities in various parts of the country, enforcement of rules governing the industry and the building of a strong partnership with financial institutions and donor countries across the world.
He described Marine Biology and Oceanography as one of the most productive and attractive areas of study in the world and entreated them to take their University work seriously in order to benefit from what they are learning.
The Manager of the African Development Bank’s funded Artisanal Fisheries Development Project, Alpha Bangura said funds for the procurement of the items were provided by the bank to achieve some of the Ministry’s goals and objectives which require ongoing research and assessment of the existing fish stocks to ensure better management of the marine resources.
He affirmed that in order to ensure that IMBO implements its aspect of the project effectively, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fisheries Ministry, his project provided laboratory equipment, boats and chemicals for the institute in November 2008.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. T.B.R. Yorma while thanking the Fisheries Ministry for the gesture, described it as timely, saying it will complement their efforts in providing solace for people of Sierra Leone.
Prof. Yorma noted that the University is currently grappling with the problem of determining its importance in national development, adding that they are in the process of examining their curricula to meet modern challenges.
Receiving the items, the Director of IMBO who later led the Minister and entourage on a conducted tour of the institute’s facilities, Prof. Ernest Ndhomina gave a brief overview of the institute which he said gained autonomy in 1966.
Prof. Ndhomina described the state of Sierra Leone’s fisheries as healthy and thanked the Minister and his team for their efforts in rebranding the sector. He disclosed plans to produce a document that would serve as a blue print for fisheries management soon.
The Chairman of the ceremony and Head of the Chemistry Department of FBC, Prof. Pascal Egbenda commended the Fisheries Ministry for the initiative and hoped other MDA’S would follow.
The Deputy Registrar of FBC, S.N. Dumbuya and other staff of the University also graced the occasion.