Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Aquaculture Baseline Study Report Discussed

Stakeholders yesterday discussed, in a preparatory approach, key findings and recommendations of a study titled, "Aquaculture Baseline Study" under the European Union (EU)-funded ACP Fish II project for aquaculture development in Sierra Leone.

The workshop at Hotel Barmoi in the west of the city brought together representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, university research facilities and the private sector, among others. Participants gave meaningful contributions and suggestions on the way forward for aquaculture development and at the end of the meeting, validated the above report. The overall objective of the study, which was carried out in October 2012, is to support the development of a strategy for aquaculture development through providing comprehensive information on the present status, constraints and potential of the sector. According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries, Mani Koroma, the EU has been providing support to help strengthen fisheries management in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. He told the gathering that the country has been benefiting from the EU-funded project through capacity building.

On his part, EU Senior Consultant, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Dr. Gertjan de Graaf, admonished participants to give their advices and comments on the report. Minister of Fisheries, Momodu Alieu Pat-Sowe, stated that there is a downward trend in the production with 35% of the areas over-exploited or depleted. He said the fisheries sector is very important because it supports 10% of the country's GDP, adding that it also supplies protein, creates employment and guaranties food security.

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