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HomeLocal NewsFISHERIES MINISTRY HOLDS PUBLIC DISCLOSURES STUDY ON FISH HARBOR PROJECT

FISHERIES MINISTRY HOLDS PUBLIC DISCLOSURES STUDY ON FISH HARBOR PROJECT

By Yusufu Sesay

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources on January 13th, 14th and 16th January, 2023 held public disclosure on the Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) study for residents in Black Johnson and Waterloo and their surrounding communities, as well as in the Ministry’s conference hall for technocrats for the development of an Industrial Fish Harbour Complex at Black Johnson in the Freetown Peninsula.

The public disclosure of the EISHIA study is part of the Ministry’s continued engagement with residents and authentic landowners affected by the proposed fish harbor project, many of whom have been compensated by the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL).

Speaking at the Black Johnson Community Center last Friday, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Emma Kowa-Jalloh assured residents that the GoSL would do environmental due diligence to tackle any potential environmental hazards and ensured the sustainability of the harbour.

Hon. Kowa-Jalloh said: “We have done the best we could to ensure that the project serves the Black Johnson Community as part of Government’s commitment to provide jobs for the community people when the project commences.”

The Minister furthered that they are open to follow-ups from the public including community members and affected landowners after the disclosure.

Meanwhile, the alternatives to Black Johnson are Cline Bay and Kissy Dockyard where deeper water is present, but the risk of siltation and shallow water terrains for seafront development, reclamation required for a large proportion of Cline Bay, and oil refinery and traffic conflicts with Queen Elizabeth II Quay remain major problems, according to the Lead Consultant, Prof. Andrew C. M. Baio.

In the study report, the consultants reported that the alternatives are difficult to develop with shallow water and siltation problems; also posing landownership conflict with the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) and a private fishing company that is already developing its jetty and vessel repair terminal.

The consultants concluded that all the alternatives to the Black Johnson site are not suitable due to the huge costs of resettlement and conflict with naval infrastructure.As a result, Prof. Baio said the harbour construction is likely to have significant environmental impacts that are sensitive, diverse, or unprecedented, with the impacts likely to affect a broader area.

The consultants however recommended that the project implementation takes measures required to prevent, minimize, mitigate, or compensate for adverse impacts and improve environmental performance.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which was part of the process, applauded the Ministry for complying with the country’s environmental laws.

Prof. Baio however assured that the project will create job opportunities for youths and women, with the possibilities to explore deep sea fishing, increasing fish production, and improving hygiene and sanitation compliance in fish handling, processing, and analytical testing, to meet local and export demands.

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