Freetown, Sierra Leone - Sierra Leone’s Minister for fisheries, Hon. Dr. Soccoh Kabia, recently received Wetlands International’s Africa’s project team to his Freetown office located at the Yuyi Building. “We are always willing to work and support you,” the minister enthusiastically declared as he welcomed the group.
Wetlands International’s Africa had visited the Hon. Dr. Soccoh Kabia’s office to update him on its 3 year project developing a Marine Protected area for the Yawri Bay coastal communities. So far multiple baseline studies and research as well as mobilization of community stakeholders are contributing toward marine and coastal conservation in the area. At the moment, efforts are underway to make the Yawri Bay Marine protected area into a law.
Now in its final year, the project is focused on supporting Yawri Bay’s communities in developing alternative small-scale livelihood activities. Overfishing as well as destructive fishing practices have been negatively impacting Yawri Bay’s biodiversity. As Sierra Leone’s director of fisheries Alpha A. Bangura explained “post-war surveys have shown that there are more people in the fishing sector than necessary. Finding alternative livelihoods must be done.”
According to Hon. Dr. Soccoh Kabia “our fishing and artisanal people need to be strengthened. This project shall be quite meaningful since the government and communities’ members have been involved in the selection of these alternative livelihood activities from the very beginning,” He also noted that the project was all rounded as it addressed three key areas - conservation, economic benefit and surveillance.
The fisheries minister is also keen to see communities supported through partnerships and commended Wetlands International Africa for “doing the great job of working together”. Hon. Dr. Soccoh Kabia Wetlands International Africa is in the process of finalizing a memorandum of agreement with the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) which is in the preliminary phase of a similar coastal conservation project in the Bonthe area in Sierra Leone.
Wetlands International Africa is implementing a three year project toward integrated and sustainable coastal and marine resource management and biodiversity conservation in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone project team comprises a project coordinator, two project officer and two liaison officers. They are supported by a communication, policy and PRCM team based in the Senegal Regional office.
Pape Diomaye THIARE
Communications and Media Coordinator
Wetlands International Africa
Phone: +221 33 869 16 81