The Deputy Minister of Marine Resources Oya Sankoh has ‘boastfully’ informed a battery of journalists at the usual press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Communications that her ministry has generated over three billion leones revenue from marine resources in less than a year.
She explained that since they took over the mantle of power last year they have been able to generate as follows: Le 1,196 .42 billion from October to November 2007; Le 1.2 billion in December 2007 and Le 1.7 billion in January, 2008.
She said fishery plays a significant role towards the socio economic development of the country with 92.4 % contribution towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For the past three years she said, her Ministry has generated Le 5billion from marine resources.
She said in spite of the persistent pirating by fishing vessels traversing our territorial waters they have managed to conserve our marine resources to avoid depletion as fishes contain 80 % of protein nutrient in our diet.
“We contribute greatly towards the food security drive in Sierra Leone” she said. In the area of employment creation, she stated that the marine ministry is one of the highest employers with over 100,000 employees for those engaged in marketing and processing marine resources and 30,000 employees for local fishing communities.
She categorized fishing into industrial, artisanal and inland fishing components, adding that fishing is concentrated on the coastal area where the sea is. Oya Sankoh stated that there are some 14 industrial fishing companies in Sierra Leone who contribute to the national revenue of the country.
She however maintained that, the ministry has not got the capacity to surveillance the territorial waters, noting that they rely heavily on an agreement with the Sierra Leone Naval wing to help monitor the territorial waters.
Recently 3 pirate boats were apprehended by a joint team of officials of the marine ministry and naval patrol team and a fine was levied against them which they paid.
She appealed to donor countries to assist with surveillance boats to properly monitor the territorial waters in order to put an end to their illicit fishing activities.