Local fishermen here under the banner, Fishermen Association of Liberia want license fee of US$475 levied by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) reduced by 20 percent or US$95.00
The Secretary of the Fishermen Association of Liberia Paul Asmah, laments that taxes levied by NaFAA are too high.
He explains that since 2017 up to 2019 they have been paying 10,000 Liberian Dollars per each canoe fishing in Liberian waters, but the NaFAA has increased it to $475, which is exorbitant for them.
He says as a result of the 100 percent increase in the fee, fishermen in nine of the 15 counties in which they operate, have abandoned the trade because they cannot afford the amount being levied.
He says members of the Fisherman Association of Liberia have made frantic effort to meet with the Director General of NaFAA to put forth their plight but to no avail.
He discloses that the NaFAA boss has issued instructions, banning all canoe owners failing to register with the government from fishing in the waters of Liberia.
However, Paul notes that members of his association are not refusing to pay registration fees, but the government should find a way to reduce the amount being levied.
In January this year, the Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Emma Glasco, announced a new fee structure for fishermen operating in Liberia’s territorial waters, based on their engines’ capacity.
Madam Glasco said the new measure is part of management’s programs to resuscitate the sector and increase revenue generation.
She said under the new structure, which takes effect immediately, owners of paddling canoes will pay the sum of LRD,200 annually, while operators of 1Hp (House power) to 14Hp will pay a yearly fee of US$200.
The previous fee was LRD5,500 per canoe; while 15Hp to 40 Hp fees have been increased from LRD10,000 to US$475.
Fishermen operating machines with capacity between 41Hp and 100Hp will now pay US$1,000 annually, while operators of migrant or seasonal canoes are being charged US$1,250 yearly.
Director Glasco explains that this will allow government to provide subsidy to fishmongers and develop a robust semi-industrial program, including a value-added component such as processing facility. By Bridgett Milton–Editing by Jonathan Browne