His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has pledged to support the country’s fishing sector become a thriving industry that supports national development. He engaged the Sierra Leone Fishing Companies Association at State House on Thursday.
The President emphasised the importance of the sector to his government, noting that it was a major source of revenue, continued to generate a huge economic activity as well as could provide a powerful avenue for sustainable food security drive.
“My government will try to make our fish value fit for export, so that we can make more money. We will assess its potentials to know where we can help the industry to grow and lessen the burden on local investment,” he said, adding that his government was determined to raise revenue for development.
President of the Association, Bassem Mohamed, said according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, in 2012 fish and fisheries products were among the most traded food commodities in the world, representing about 10 per cent of agricultural exports. He said Sierra Leone was leading among countries with cheaper fish prices to customers in the sub-region of West Africa.
“We have been able to sell our fish at a cheaper price in the local markets because of better management and strategic partnership with Chinese fish suppliers who sell their catch at lower cost to the industry players. The fishing industry contributes between 12 to 15 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
He stated that the association’s contribution to national growth was enormous as it had supported numerous small-scale artisanal and subsistence fishermen who often provide crucial food supplies in the form of protein and support the socio-cultural values of their communities.