60% of women according to Irene are involved in fish trading and sell about 100 – 200 dozen of the product per day, noting that they use their money to finance their domestic and other affairs because they do not have access to loans from microfinance institutions due to high rate of interest with some financial institutions asking for up to 25% to 40% interest for loans.
“Nevertheless, the importance of distribution of fish in the country, results in fish traders earning low income due to low selling capacities,” Irene said.
Thomas Turay, President Artisanal Fishermen Sierra Leone in his statement said fish processors in Sierra Leone are struggling to process their fish because they are working in very harsh conditions and do not have adequate facilities.
“We suffer from smoke due to archaic smoke ovens,” Turay said. He added that in Sierra Leone, 50% of women are involved in the sector of artisanal fisheries as they process and supply about 60% of fish landed in the communities despite the fact that they do not have government support to develop their capacities.
“We use traditional facilities which cannot allow us to process quality fish; the hygiene and sanitation conditions are very poor in the fish processing environment,” Turay added.