The auspicious event was held at the Bintumani International Conference Hall in the far west of Freetown.
In his opening remarks, the Vice President said he was very much happy that the association had been merged with the Peoples Republic China.
Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh told the well attended gathering that he would use his good office to advance the progress in the country’s fishing industry and discourage illegal fishing activities within the country’s territorial waters.
He promised to leave no stone unturned in ensuring transparency and accountability in the operations of the association, noting that he is poised to add value with more capital investment that would bring success to the association.
The Vice President noted that Sierra Leone’s fishing industry was faced with a lot of challenges and assured his audience that with the establishment the Sierra Leone-China Fishery Association, things will improve foe the better.
He commended the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Elizabeth Manns for her relentless effort in making the industry more meaningful and profitable and also urged her not to relent, but to continue with her good work at the ministry.
In his contribution, the Director General of Fisheries in China, Zhang Xianliang said he was happy to be in Sierra Leone and to work with the country’s fishing industry, so as to achieve success in this all important venture.
“We want Sierra Leone to profit more from the marine resources and create more job opportunities for especially young people who are the major workforce of the nation and put an end to illegal fishing activities in the country,” he said.
Mr. Zhang, a member of the association intimated that the Sierra Leone’s marine resources would realize rapid development , and that they will use their expertise to create massive investment and controls including the exportation of fish products.
The Economic Counselor in the Chinese embassy, Shen Xiaokai said the fishery sector is an integral aspect of the country’s economy, as it is a major source of revenue towards rebranding its economy considering that fact it accounts for more than 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and provided job opportunity for over 500,000 Sierra Leoneans.
He commented that Chinese fishing companies played an important role in the production of fish products, as the sector creates jobs and support the Government to achieving its food security and poverty reduction objectives.
The fishery sector, he went on should be diversified, so that it helps the country achieve sustainable development.
The President of Sierra Leone Fishery Association, Bassim Mohamed, informed the gathering that the association needed commitment noting that the cordiality that exists between the two countries for considerable period of time should thrive.
He thanked the Minister and officials of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for all the support that they had provided to Chinese fishing companies in the Sierra Leone.