Sierra Leone ends flag of convenience for fishing vessels

Sierra Leone is closing its international shipping registry to foreign-owned fishing vessels in a move intended to reduce illegal catches in its seas and around the world, the fisheries minister said on Thursday.

Officials said the West African country — notorious as a so-called “flag of convenience” with minimum enforcement of maritime regulations — was the first such nation in the world to implement the measure.

“When these vessels fly our flag they go to the open ocean and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Joseph Koroma told a news conference.

“We are saying enough is enough, the buck stops here.”

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