With support from the World Bank, the objective of the workshop among others is to introduce the concept of the DASHBOARD application to all stakeholders, discuss predefined indicators and variables that the dashboard application is monitoring, identify the roles of relevant institutions in generating the necessary information needed for the full functioning the information system and set a National Working Group to implement the programme.
In his opening remarks at the workshop which was attended by representatives from Key institutions including, Customs and Excise Department, Institute of Marine Biology, Ministries of Fisheries, Finance and Local Government, Statistics Department and Sierra Leone Maritime Agency , the Representative of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission, Ibrahim Turay said the programme was aimed at integrating Sierra Leone into the system from which other member countries in the sub-region are benefitting.
Giving a brief historical sketch of the system, Mr. Turay said, following a Regional Working Group Workshop in Sally, Dakar in 2016 to discuss challenges facing countries in data entry, his organization thought it fit to integrate Sierra Leone and Gambia with a view to strengthening regional cooperation and promoting transparency in fisheries governance.
Mr. Turay who made Power Point Presentations on various topics, including Dashboard and Indicators, Fisheries and Socio- economic data collection techniques, stressed on the importance of the Fisheries Information System (Dashboard) and urged the participants to make the best use of the system so as to provide useful information that would enhance an effective management of the country’s fisheries sector.
In his Key note address, the Deputy Director of Fisheries, Josephus Mammie who officially declared the workshop opened, said the programme was in fulfillment of the West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme’s mandate of strengthening member countries capacity to sustainably govern and manage their fisheries, reduce illegal fishing and increase the value and profitability generated from marine resources. He underscored the importance of the Regional Information System- Dashboard, saying it will enhance responsible governance in the fisheries sector in Sierra Leone and countries within the sub-region.
The status of fisheries and marine resources, he said is determined by a complex set of interactions between biological, ecological, environmental and anthropogenic factors, adding that fisheries have an impact on the various species that are a part of the wide range of aquatic habitats. He averred that an efficient fisheries management requires numerous data as it is difficult to evaluate the effect of fishing separately from other variations. Mr. Mammie opined that arrangement of data into indicators that help stakeholders to better understand the present status and dynamics of fisheries has become a major challenge and expressed the need for a centralized Dashboard.
To ensure that the Dashboard is effective, he recommended that there should be continuous dialogue between users and involvement of stakeholders in decision-making process among others. Chairman of the ceremony, Dr. Raymond Johnson, commended the organizers for what he described as a very important programme and expressed optimism that it will promote transparency, effective records management system in the ministry.
During the technical sessions participants raised a number concerns and proffered recommendations to ensure an effective management of the sector including the irrational and illegal manner in which the country’s fisheries resources are exploited and also expressed need to put measures in place that would curb the practice.
They stressed the need to establish a robust National fisheries research unit in the country, harmonise data collection process in the sub-region, capacitate staff of the ministry of fisheries and improve their conditions of service for efficient and effective service-delivery, promote constant consultation among partners in the sector with a view to enforcing rules, regulations and policies governing the sector as well as promoting transparency by popularizing the activities of the ministry through advocacy.