Sierra Leone suffered a big loss of $30 million to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing activities in last five years, says ministry.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Joseph Koroma has informed that the country is a big victim of IUU fishing activities as it has huge financial loss due to this. He was speaking at the Miatta Conference hall yesterday during the opening of a two-day conference on addressing Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in the Mano River Union Region with support from the Environmental Justice Foundation, Government of Sierra Leone, FAO and two others.
According to Koroma illegal fishing has over the years cost the country a huge revenue loss which is mainly as a result of the inefficiency of the Sierra Leone International Ships Registry based in New Orleans to ensure that foreign registered vessels that are given permission to operate in the territorial waters of Sierra Leone meaningfully contribute to the country’s revenue.
He also told that the Sierra Leone International Ships Registry (SLIR) reported to government that in the last five years they registered 90 vessels and each of those vessels were paying $513.09 per year which cannot even match with the level of damages these vessels cause to local fishermen.
The Minister went on to say that one contributing factor to IUU activities is the use of flags of convenience by these vessels to circumvent fisheries management measures and avoid penalties for illegal activities. Now the government has decided to scrap the Sierra Leone International Ships Registry in New Orleans to all foreign- owned fishing and fisheries support vessels in the supreme interest of economically viable fisheries with benefits to Sierra Leone rather than to outside commercial interest.