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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
In Sierra Leone, another plus for Afsatu Kabbah’s ministry
In collaboration with the joint United States/Sierra Leone Coast Guard, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, headed by Haja Afsatu Kabbah, has recorded yet another landmark in the area of coastal security.
Over the weekend, the U.S Coast Guard consisting of a joint sea patrol team of U.S Navy, the Sierra Leone Police, Sierra Leone Army and government personnel intercepted and arrested four unlicensed fishing vessels operating along the high coast of Sierra Leone. The four vessels include Ghanaian owned Seagods 1 and 2, Min-uyu 701, owned by Sierra Leonean based ‘Okeykey’ Fishing Company and Bokjori, owned by Sierra Leone’s Sierra Fishing Company.
Speaking to pressmen during a press briefing held on Monday 14th December 2009, at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said over the years complaints have been coming from the general public that Sierra Leone is not benefiting from the Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry due to uncontrollable illegal fishing in our coast. The Minister went on that it was in view of the aforementioned that the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Haja Afsatu Kabbah, on 8th December 2009, wrote a letter recognizing the important role played by the United States Government in providing security for the coast of Africa. In that letter also, Hon. Kargbo went on, the Fisheries Minister cajoled the U.S government to assist Sierra Leone in providing adequate security to guard the country’s coastal area and in responds to the woman Minister’s appeal, a joint U.S Navy Guard was formed, comprising personnel drawn from the Sierra Leone Police, the Army and some Government representatives.
On his part, the Commander U.S Naval Force U.S Coast Guard for Africa, Brian Lisko, informed pressmen that the U.S is committed to working with the Sierra Leone Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry in tackling illegal fishing and piracy operation along the coast of Sierra Leone. He said the U.S Navy is in Sierra Leone to strengthen maritime safety and will do all in their capacity to achieve this goal.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Haja Afsatu Kabbah thanked the United States Government for their prompt intervention to her clarion call to ensure that Sierra Leone’s coastal area is secured from piracy and illegal fishing. She went on stating that the four vessels arrested have been fined the sum of U.S $2.145, 000 (Two Million One Hundred and Forty-Five Thousand United States Dollars) for conducting illegal fishing in the coast of Sierra Leone, such as using bad nets, operating in an unauthorized zone and catching fishes that they were not licensed to catch.
The press briefing saw other Government Ministers such as the Presidential Affairs Minister Joe Koroma, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abdul Serry Kamal, the Minister of Defense Paolo Conteh, among others, making their commitments towards the safe guarding the country’s coastal region.
The Sierra Fishing Company disputes this story, claiming that none of its vessels has ever been arrested for fishing without a license.
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Issues/Monitoring, control and surveillance