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Ambassador WU Peng Requires Chinese Fishing Companies against Illegal Fishing in Sierra Leone Waters

The Chinese Ambassador WU Peng has on Wednesday April 26, 2017 required all Chinese fishing companies in a meeting held at the Chinese Embassy in Freetown to avoid any illegal fishing activities in the Sierra Leone coastal waters.

Ambassador WU Peng said the position of Chinese government was very clear, that is opposing any kind of illegal fishing activities, and requiring all Chinese vessels working in Sierra Leone must respect Sierra Leonean government's supervision and abide by the legislation and regulation of Sierra Leone.

Ambassador WU noted when he assumed office as the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone in November, 2016, he worked with Sierra Leone side to take the action of freezing the total number of Chinese fishing vessels to maintain sanity in the fishing industry. There should not be more vessels operating in Sierra Leone, because Chinese government was also very concerned about the problem of overfishing. Ambassador WU represented Chinese Embassy to Sierra Leone reaffirmed that they would take any steps necessary to maintain rule of law on fishing along with Sierra Leone authorities.

Ambassador WU also pointed out that the Chinese fishing companies were contributing to the economic development of the country and creating thousands of jobs for Sierra Leoneans. The blue economy was one of the pillar industries for this country. However, he explained that, the fishing companies were also facing with series of challenges ranging from the depreciation of the Leones against the U.S dollars, the hike in fuel price, increase in license fees for fish vessels, and low sale price of fish in local market etc. But he reiterated that none of those challenges should serve as any reason for any company to get involved in illegal fishing practices.

He noted that keeping Sierra Leone fishing industry sustainable and protecting ocean resources were in line with not only Sierra Leonean benefits but also the fishing companies' interests. All the companies should work as development partner with Sierra Leone authority to make fishing industry develop in a sustainable way and benefit Sierra Leonean people.

The Economic and Commercial Counselor, Mr. Shen Xiaokai of the Chinese Embassy noted that, the meeting was to create an understanding for the fishing companies to know better Sierra Leone's fishing regulations. He said the Embassy share similar values with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in term of protecting and sustaining the marine resources.

Mr. Victor Kargbo, the Acting Director and Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, was invited to the meeting to introduce the rules of Sierra Leone on fishing to the companies. He told the representatives of the various Chinese fishing companies that fishing involved huge capital investment, therefore, the companies need to know the country's fishing regulation before they get involved in any fishing business. He said as a sovereign state, Sierra Leone was party to several international treaties that seek to protect marine resources and as such they needed to go by those treaties. He also stated that, Chinese contribution towards national development was immense and that the Ministry of Fisheries appreciated that efforts and would ensure a friendly atmosphere for fishing business in the country. He said a copy of the new regulations would be forwarded to the Embassy to be distributed among the fishing companies.

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