To provide affordable animal protein (quality fish and fishery products) for the population and contribute significantly to the GDP.

The ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has its mission to plan, develop, rationally mange and conserve all living aquatic resources of the country for the benefit of the country.

The Fisheries Sector Policy is to promote responsible and sustainable fishing practices through good governance while contributing to poverty reduction and wealth creation in Sierra Leone.

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By Max A Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR

Guinean delegationGovernment's policies and unwavering determination to ensure Aquaculture/Fish farming, serves as a reliable alternative not only for increasing fish availability but also potentially making important contributions to household economy, employment and source of revenue collection, continue to attract both local and international interested partners. Over the weekend, a high profile ten-man Guinean delegation, led by the Advisor for Rural Development to the Guinean President, Madam Haja Sokona Camara, visited the Ministry of Fisheries' Fish Farming Station at Makali and Fish Farming Projects at  Machen and Mayeira in the Konike Barina and Konike Sanda Chiefdoms, Tonkolili District.

Jointly organized by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, USAID and the implementing agency, World Fish, the purpose of the visit was to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, experience and skills from Sierra Leonean experts in the field of aquaculture to members of the delegation with a view to replicating them to selected communities in Guinea.

Speaking on behalf of the Guinean delegation, Madam Sokona Camara appreciated the warm welcome accorded them by the Ministry of Fisheries and World Fish project. She also thanked the Government of Sierra Leone for given them the opportunity to have a firsthand knowledge of activities relating to the implementation of the Aquaculture programme in Sierra Leone which she said is one of President Alpha Conde's development priorities as far as food security is concerned. Madam Camara expressed the need to strengthen and increase the level of collaboration and cooperation between the two countries and thanked the implementers of the project for their motivation, resilience and commitment to work. The Head of the delegation assured all that they would do their utmost to use knowledge gained from Sierra Leone to promote agriculture and food self- sufficiency in their country. The National Director, Aquaculture Project in Guinea, Sidi Keita who spoke the rationale behind their visit, said the idea was initiated by his office on behalf of the Guinean Government through the Head of USAID/ Guinea, William Bradley who earlier expressed the need for Guinea to emulate Sierra Leone's best practices in the implementation of aquaculture projects.

Welcoming the delegation, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Charles Rogers thanked the Guinean delegation for the initiative and expressed his ministry's willingness to share experience gained in the field of aquaculture to the Guineans, saying, "As brothers we are always willing to work in close collaboration with you". The Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Fisheries, Madam Mariatu Koroma on behalf of the ministry lauded the effort of staff of the implementing agency, World Fish and thanked them for a work well done.

Giving a brief historical sketch of the Aquaculture project in Sierra Leone, the Director of Fisheries, Mohamed Bushura Cole said the Makali Fish Farming Centre was established by the Peace Corps as a quality Fish Seed Production Centre in 1974 to supply fish farmers with affordable and quality fish fry. The station he said, remained functional and was abandoned during the war, until recently when Government started renovating and reactivating aquaculture stations and related activities in the country. He described the establishment of a Fish Hatchery in Makali by Fish World as well as the improvement of stock through cross- breeding of Burkina Faso Strain Tilapia introduced in Bo and that of the Ivory Coast Strain in Makali axis as a laudable venture. This he said has resulted in the production of a new Tilapia strain that is resilient to a whole range of ecological hazards. The Project Mananger of World Fish Aquaculture Pilot Programme in Sierra Leone Sunil Siriwardena intimated that one of the problems identified by his project was the lack of knowledge on basic aquaculture practices such as liming, feeding and fertilizing. The project he said has succeeded in installing a 100m underground water pipe to address water shortage thereby ensuring effective project implementation. He said the Fish Farm Station has produced and supplied fingerlings to four districts of Bo, Kenema, Kono and Tonkolili through FAO, with production target of 1,100,000 fingerlings in 2017. In addition to the fish production unit capacity of 1 metric ton per day, Dr. Siriwardena disclosed plans to develop fish feed mills as an adaptive technology which will be affordable and cost effective compared to the cost of imported fish feed. The programme which was also attended by Staff of USAID Sierra Leone and Guinea was climaxed by visits to selected fish farming communities in the region where fish farmers also shared their knowledge and experiences in the occupation as well as a conducted tour of the project's facilities, including Fish Ponds, Hatchery and Feed Mills.