By MFMR Media Unit
In a bid to enforce measures relating to the ongoing Closed Season initiative, aimed at protecting the country’s fish stock from depletion, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has in collaboration with Industrial Fishing Companies organized the sale of fish to members of the public, including staff from Ministries, Department and Agencies at the forecourt of Youyi Building in Freetown.
The ongoing initiative was conceived by management and staff of the ministry in partnership with key stakeholders with the aim of preventing scarcity of fish products in the markets and cushioning the effects of prices on consumers.
In an interview, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Emma Kowa Jalloh who was also seen playing active role in ensuring that the exercise went successfully, explained that she has been receiving concerns from colleagues and members of the public about fish scarcity in the market. Responding to the aforementioned concerns, she opined that “one might not get the desired size of fish or might buy fish at a bit higher cost, but cannot say there is no fish in the market”, pointing out that Sierra Leoneans are buying fish at a relatively low cost, compared to neighboring countries.
She added that, as part of measures to implement the Closed Season, her ministry and partners had unanimously agreed that Fishing Companies ensure that their storage facilities are well stocked throughout the one-month period and take at least one truck full of fish products for sale at Youyi Building which has been identified as one of the suitable sales outlets that would be easily accessed by M.D. As and other members of public in a weekly basis, while compliance with measures relating to the Closed Season is observed.
She described price of fish at the said location as “reasonable” compared to the market price. She added that the sale of fish at the identified location is open to the public, but restricted to one carton per person.
Coordinator of the exercise, Victor Kargbo, described the process as very successful as it has given the working class and some members of the public an opportunity to access quality and affordable fish products. He appreciated the role of Fishing Companies and thanked them for their cooperation.
According to one of the agents of Sierra Fishing Company, Ibrahim Sackie, their involvement in the process was in fulfillment of the ministry’s clarion call on them to complement the effort of government in ensuring fish is available and affordable. He said they had ensured that their truck was loaded with various species of fish and sold at affordable costs, based on their sizes and qualities.
The Closed Season also saw other fishing companies like Okeke and Sabco, moving in with trucks loaded with fish for sale to the public.