VP Juldeh Opens 20th Session of SRFC On Fishing

Declaring open the 20th Ordinary Session of the Conference of Ministers of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) on Thursday, 26th July, 2018 at the Bintumani Hotel, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh told participants that according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 1.6 million tons of fish are caught in West Africa each year.

The 1.6 million tons of fish, he said, the report stated was estimated at wholesale value of US$2.5 billion. This estimate, he furthered is believed to be twice below the unreported catch.

“Given the magnitude of production, the marine fish stock in these countries constitute a significant natural asset and it plays a pivotal role in the culture lives and economy of the population,” said Dr. Juldeh noting further that the fisheries sector directly and indirectly employs more the 3 million people throughout coastal West Africa.

Sierra Leone, he said, received 12% of the GDP from the fisheries sector and the sector pointed approximately 80% of annual protein intake for the country.

The health and productivity of the country fish stock, he said, are therefore paramount to the country if it is to continue deriving benefits from the sector and securing food and livelihood for the population.

He pointed out that despite the importance of the fisheries in the economic development of nations, the sector, he said, is still below expected performance level to trigger the much needed economic development for the country.

“This situation is due to, among other things, poor fisheries governance and management regimes, Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, over fishing, indiscriminate cutting down of coastal mangroves, vegetations and inadequate policies and regulations and overfishing of the commercially exploited stock,” the VP said, stating further that the fisheries resources of the sub-region is essentially shared and it is therefore considered to be a regional asset.

Given the numerous challenges, optimizing the opportunities and addressing the challenges of the marine environment, the VP said, requires effective regional cooperation and coordination as well as concerted efforts from individual countries.

This, he said, could be done through developing and implementing a better coherent management, conservation and compliance regimes that will transform the marine environment such as including harmonization of the fisheries policies and legal framework, fighting IUU fishing and promotion of transparency and accessibility of fisheries information to relevant stakeholders and the public.