The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the Russian Federation on Tuesday March 4, 2014 officially opened the Fisheries and Marine Training Institute at the Kissy Dock Yard Grounds in Freetown.
The institute is a product of the Technical Capacity Building in Fishing and Seafood Processing Technology Project which is formerly the Siaka Stevens Marine Training School is aimed at developing the national human resource capacity within the fisheries sector in order to effectively manage for optimum revenue generation and sustainability.
Officially launching the Institute, the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma stated that the ceremony marks the celebration of the friendship and partnership between the Russian Federation and the Government of Sierra Leone.
President Koroma noted that the establishment of a Fisheries institute is crucial to the enhancement of an efficient fishing sector which is in line with the government’s agenda for the achievement of food security, institutional and infrastructural development.
He stressed that the establishment of the institute will contribute to imparting the appropriate skills which will integrate the citizens’ participation in the country’s development strides as the ambition of the government is to elevate the country to the middle income level against 2035.
He encouraged citizens, especially the youths to utilize the opportunity by enrolling for courses offered in the Institute, as it will empower them to gain profitable and sustainable employment in the fisheries sector and subsequently contribute to the country’s economic development.
The Russian Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Alexandra Bengaza stated that the Institute will not only contribute to providing skills training for Sierra Leoneans, but will also help in the projection and proper utilization of the country’s fisheries potential.
Ambassador Bengaza noted that the Institute will also contribute in the fight against illegal fishing which has over the years greatly damaged the country’s economy. He pledged a sustainable development of the corporate relationship between the Russian Federation and the Government of Sierra Leone.
The Managing Director of the United Nations Industrial organization (UNIDO), Philipee Scholtes stressed that the fully-equipped state of the art fisheries institute which marks the resuscitation of the “Centre of Excellence” from the ashes will greatly contribute to inclusive and sustainable industrial development of the government’s agenda.
He acknowledged the contributions of his predecessors in ensuring the realization of the project, and also admonished that the knowledge gained from the Institute, should be imparted to the small fishermen in the interior of the country.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Allieu Pat Sowe gracefully stated that the completion of the Institute has been one of his flagship projects under the Agenda for Prosperity, since he assumed office as the provision of lasting solution to support the country’s fishing industry has been a major challenge.
Pat Sowe noted that the lack of Fisheries Institution in the country has over the years contributed to the inability of citizens to benefit from the fisheries industry for which he quickly realized that the Fisheries and Marine Training Institute will provide skills training for the youths.
He called on UNIDO and other supporting agencies to continue their support towards the development of the country’s fisheries sector.
By Keifa M. Jaward