Following a three- day retreat jointly organised by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) in March this year, the two institutions have in collaboration with other stakeholders developed an Action Plan that would enable NEPAD assist the ministry in enhancing effective and efficient service delivery. The adopted Action Plan seeks to address issues such as support to policy, legal and regulatory framework and needs, development of an operational framework for the implementation of the plan and the establishment of the National Comprehensive African Agricultural Programme (CAADP) Sub- Committee on Fisheries.
Declaring the workshop open at the Edn Resort Hotel, Mama Beach, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr. Soccoh Kabia, thanked NEPAD for its effort in helping to identify areas that need to be developed in the country’s fisheries industry. He noted that the retreat was in line with President Koroma’s Agenda for Change and desire to improve the fisheries sector and enhance wealth creation. He called on all participants to carefully discuss the various areas identified for the NEPAD/DFID support in order to come up with tangible action plan that can be successfully supported and implemented. Dr. Kabia underscored the need to develop the ministry’s sub-sector, including monitoring, control and surveillance, aqua culture, inland fisheries, artisanal fisheries, industrial and semi-industrial fisheries, statistics and research, quality control and marketing, monitoring and evaluation, public relations and communication division, and hoped the programme would continue.
NEPAD’s Senior Fisheries Adviser, Dr. Sloans Chlimatiro, registered his organisation’s commitment to supporting MFMR in different areas so as to ensure sustainable management of the Sierra Leone Fisheries, noting that such effort can only be successful through the full cooperation of the Ministry Staff. NEPAD, he said, believes in the fact that Africa must demonstrate the ability to promote development, while for the harmonisation of Sub- Regional Fisheries Organisations to ensure collaboration in fisheries management, the Fisheries Expert disclosed plans to organise a regional meeting where issues affecting fisheries in the sub-region will be discussed with assistance from ECOWAS.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ahmed Kemokai, said the main objective of the two- day retreat was to go through NEPAD’s report on the previous retreat in order to establish National Working Groups and to prepare an action plan and budgets on the existing gaps and NEPAD’s support areas identified in the various sub-sectors of the ministry, including fisheries enforcement, policy reviews, fisheries research, fish farming, fish quality and trade.
Welcoming participants to the workshop, the Acting Director of Fisheries, Alpha Bangura said the programme will set the pace for the ministry to forge ahead and called on all participants to participate fully and make recommendations that can aid the sustainable use and management of the fish resources of Sierra Lone. He assured all of his ministry’s support in the implementation of the programme.
The Coordinator of the Small Holders’ Commercialisation Programme, Prince Kamara assured all of their desire to strengthen collaboration between the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.
He disclosed that funds will soon be provided by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme for the implementation on food security, including aqua culture.
By A. Max Konneh, Press Officer,MFMR