Some representatives of an African government have been in the island this week to learn how about the Manx approach to fisheries management and protection.
Victor Kargbo, head of Sierra Leone’s Joint Maritime Committee Management Team, and Hindolo Momoh, fisheries officer, have been visiting.
They have been working with staff from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.
The officers joined the crew of the fisheries protection vessel Enbarr, as well as tour fish processing factories, legislative buildings and DEFA headquarters.
The visit has been arranged by the International Development Committee of the Council of Ministers and is part of the development partnership between the Isle of Man and Sierra Leone.
According to a Manx government press release, the assistance provided by the Isle of Man is ‘dramatically improving’ the lives of thousands of people in the west African country by helping to combat the scourge of illegal fishing.
Phil Gawne MHK, chairman of the International Development Committee, said: ‘As an internationally responsible nation, the Isle of Man is committed to playing its part in addressing global issues such as food security. Our focus is on supporting capacity building programmes to help those in poverty become more self-sufficient and to improve their lives through trade rather than depend on foreign aid.’
Mr Gawne added: ‘This week’s delegation from Sierra Leone is a positive example of that approach. We are providing operationally relevant training that the officers can use to tackle the challenges they are facing at home.’
The visit has further strengthened links between the two countries.
The Isle of Man gave a fisheries protection vessel to the Sierra Leone Government in 2012 and has provided a satellite monitoring system for the local fishing fleet.
That assistance has contributed to an estimated 35 per cent increase in local landings, netting an additional $16 million in earnings for the country’s subsistence fishermen.
The Isle of Man is also working closely with the World Bank, which is supporting a multimillion pound fisheries management programme in Sierra Leone.
Victor Kargbo, head of Sierra Leone’s Joint Maritime Committee Management Team, said: ‘We are grateful for the continued support provided by the Isle of Man, which is making such a big difference to our communities. It has been beneficial for us to visit the Isle of Man and see first-hand how you manage your fisheries. We will use this experience to continue the good work that is currently taking place to improve the sustainability of our own fishing industry.’
More on this story in the Isle of Man Examiner on Tuesday.