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MFMR empowers community management committees

23,Nov 2017
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Max A Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR

Head of  Marine Artisanal Unit in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Kadiatu Seaport Kamara has reiterated government’s profound commitment to empower Community Management Committees in various coastal regions of  the country to enable them perform their functions effectively.

Madam Kamara made this disclosure while presenting consignments of fishing gears including nets to representative groups of members of Community Management Committees at the ministry’s Outstations in Konakridi, Gbondapi, Bonthe, Shenge, Goderich, and Tombo .

The distribution of the gears, provided by the Government of Sierra Leone, World Bank and Japanese Government is in line with the ministry’s Incentive for Change Policy, aimed at motivating and encouraging fishers to renounce illegal fishing and manage their resources in a sustainable manner. She reminded theme about the negative effects of illegal fishing and recalled a number measures put in place to address them, including sensitization of stakeholders on importance of by-laws governing the sector, training on surveillance, Beach Management and the introduction of co-management approach through the establishment Community Management Associations. She said Marine Protected Areas were established in 2012 with support from the World Bank to help manage and conserve marine resources habitats and their breeding habitats while thanking the fishers for their cooperation in making the programme a success. She informed her audience about the newly implemented, Global Environmental Facility Project, (GEF) which she said is a follow up to the West African Regional Fisheries Programme with the purpose of scaling up community-led fisheries management among others. Senior Assistant Secretary, Idrissa Kamara acknowledged concerns brought up by the fisher folk, regarding the deplorable conditions of the outstations and expressed government’s desire to revive them. He urged them to manage their resources well for the benefit of all. The Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Mohamed Sall thanked them for their cooperation and entreated them to work within the confines of laws governing them.

Receiving the items chairmen of the various Community Management Committees, lauded the efforts of government for the initiative and promised to use the items for their intended purposes. A number of concerns and recommendations were raised at the meetings which were chaired by Fisheries Officers manning the outstations, including  lack of commitment among some members of the CMAs,  blatant encroachment into their territories and destruction of nets  by Industrial vessels, need for government to effectively enforce a ban on illegal fishing, using the media as communication channels, provision of more fishing gears, alternative livelihoods for fishing communities and impetus that would encourage them to engage in community surveillance in collaboration with other players.

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