Competent Authority

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Mandate of the Competent Authority Unit of Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources

The Competent Authority (CA) Unit of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) was formally established in 2020, based on a Cabinet Conclusion (Memo No: CP (2020)21) and in accordance with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Act of 2018 and the Fisheries and Aquaculture regulations of 2019. The overall mandate of the CA Unit is to ensure and verify safety and suitability of fish and fishery products intended for human consumption. The fishery products include those that are caught/bred in Sierra Leone waters and processed in onshore and offshore based establishments in Sierra Leone. The CA activities will contribute towards Sierra Leone’s Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) for ensuring certification of Sierra Leone Fish and Fishery Products meant for export to European Union and other international markets .

The specific responsibilities of the CA include the following:

i) Registration of all Fish Business Operators, processing plants, cold stores, aquaculture farms, freezing vessels and exporters involved directly or indirectly in the export of fish and fishery products

ii) Inspections of fishing vessels, including canoes and those providing raw materials to fih processing plants, for hygiene and sanitary requirements, prior to their departure for fishing operations.

iii) Inspection of fishing vessels in operation, landing sites and fish processing establishments for hygiene and sanitary compliance and issuance of Export Health Certificates for fish and fishery products based on importing country’s requirements to certify fish suitable for human consumption, Pursuance to Section 15 (1a, b, c) of the Sierra Leone Fisheries and Aquaculture Act of 2018

iv) Inspections of fish processing facilities and fish markets and approval and issuance of fish processing establishment licenses, pursuance to Part VI of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Regulations, 2019

v) Undertake regular collection of samples of fish, water/ice from offshore-based and onshore-based establishments for analytical testing for biological, physical, and chemical parameters, in national or international Laboratories (reference laboratories) that are accredited

vi) Implement all official controls for onshore and offshore based establishments and enforce legislative requirements of Sierra Leone’s fisheries and fishery products, including the laws and Industry Standards for Seafood Products. These include the standards of importing countries such as the European Commission Laws on Food and Feed, the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), the UK food and feed safety legislation in the post Brexit context and the amended food safety law of the People’s Republic of China.

vii) Implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), including random organoleptic evaluation of all fish and fishery products for freshness indicator checks and collect water, ice and fish samples and tests for microbiological, physical and chemical contaminants including Histamine concentration, microbes, heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs and poisonous fisheries products in line with EU requirements for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Hygienic Practices (GHP), Standard Sanitary Operation Procedures (SSOP)

viii) Carry out official audits, routine/follow-ups and unannounced inspections of approved facilities for verification of compliance with national legislation and importing country’s requirements

ix) Enforcement of catch certification scheme for fish exported to EU and other international markets, to ensure traceability to prevent Illegal fish trade and fish safety compromise.

x) Conduct registration of fishing vessels in production and processing establishments, and conduct official audits, routine, and unannounced inspections of approved facilities.

xi) Develop National Residue Monitoring Plan (NRMP) and National Control plan for fish and aquaculture products, including preparation of inspection manuals for establishments and fishing vessels for approval by DG SANTE.

xii) Inspection and control of live ornamental fish for pets and live aquatic animals for aquaculture development

Submitted to the MoHS Food Safety Workshop Team, by:

Sheku Sei,
Head, Competent Authority for Fish and Fisheries Products
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources


In  an effort  to ascertain the status of the ongoing construction work on the Fishing Landing Site for fish traders, fishermen supported by the world bank under the west African Regional Fisheries Project, the  Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Emma Kowa Jalloh and senior management staff of her ministry, including, the Permanent Secretary,  Elizabeth Hawa Ellie, the Director of Fisheries, Kadijatu Jalloh and others have on Tuesday, December, 2021,  concluded a one-day  visit to the project  site for the construction of a Fish Landing Site at Konakridee, Port Loko District, Northern Province.

At the Smoke Oven

During the visit, the team met with the Site Engineer, Shillah Kamara who received and led the group on a conducted tour of various components of the project, including Smoke Oven, wash facilities and Administrative Office, updated the minister and entourage on progress made so far at the site.
One behalf of her team, she thanked the team for the initiative and promised to do her utmost to ensure that work at the project’s site is ideally undertaken.

Hon. Minister Explaining to the Site Engineer on the purpose of the Visit

Giving her reactions, following several rounds of inspection on the quality of the project’s facilities, which also took her team to the Walk Way under construction, leading the site, the Minister recommended for an additional oven, considering the size of the one, already constructed.

Smoke oven shown far right, office block at the Middle and fuel station at the left

The minister and team also expressed satisfaction with the ongoing work but expressed concern about the availability of a sustainable water supply system in the facility.

Hon. Minister raising concern about the cliff and water source for the toilet facility

The team also recommended for the construction of restroom for the Administrative office to avoid officers moving way down to the other restroom block.

The three room office block inspected

The team further urged the Site Engineers to consider making some improvements and modifications, especially with regards other facilities, not least the main entrance of the site as a result of the Cliff, posing serious threats to the ongoing engineering work, the Fuel Station which is located at the main entrance of the facility

Landing Platform
The Fuel station facility

The Minister and team also appreciated work done so far on the walk way leading to the facility and raised concern about the distance.

The Cliff, posing threats to the project

The cliff was amongst the most pressing need to address in order to ensure the sustainability of the facility. It was noted that the cliff should have been constructed before the commencement of the work.

In another engagement, the minister and entourage on their return home, met with some fish mongers who displayed Juvenile in a nearby village and warned them against the illegal practice of fishing and selling Juvenile fish.


Following its inception, the Competent Authority Unit of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources which mandate is to ensure and verify safety and sustainability of fish and fishery products intended for consumption is on the verge of installing Fish Control and Inspection Offices in various Border Crossing and Customs Control Points in the country.
In fulfillment of the Unit’s mandate, a team of senior management staff, comprising the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Emma Kowa Jalloh, Permanent Secretary, Elizabeth Ellie, Director of Fisheries, Kadijatu Jalloh, Head of the Competent Authority Unit, Sheku Sei, Assistant Director Human Resources, Moses Kamara on Tuesday, 21st December, 2021, paid a one-day inspection tour of the proposed site for the location of a Fish Control and Inspection Office at the Lungi International Airport in the Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Port Loko District.

Receiving the Minister and team, the Deputy General Manager of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority who also took them on a conducted tour of the proposed site, thanked them for the visit and pledged their support towards the successful implementation of the ministry’s initiative.
The Minister and team described the proposed site as suitable and expressed thanked and appreciation to management of the Airport Authority for their cooperation.
The Competent Authority Staff of the ministry are expected inspect fish and fishery products to ensure they are suitable for consumption in accordance with international standards before leaving the shores of Sierra Leone.
Similar visits will be made by staff of the ministry to the Sierra Leone Airports Authority, Gbalanmuya and Jendema Border Crossing and Customs Control Points where offices of such nature will be located to ensure that every fish, exported from Sierra Leone is suitable for consumption.