The Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) disclosed that all is set for the setting up and subsequent operation of a fisheries competent laboratory (Post-Harvest and Quality Assurance) in the country.
The state of the art laboratory equipment has arrived in Monrovia under the Icelandic project.
According to a press release issued in Monrovia, Mrs. Emma M. Glassco pointed out that Liberia is a coastal state with the second longest coastline in the sub-region next to Nigeria.
“Although Liberia is very rich in high value commercial quantities of both demersal and pelagic fish stocks, the country has lost its exporting powers to international fish markets due to the failure to set up a competent laboratory for the purpose of testing and certification of fish products. As a result, there is a huge revenue leakage”, she lamented.
Mrs. Glassco continued that NaFAA has also demonstrated its willingness to adopt ISO- International Organization for Standardization’s protocols which will be laid out in its updated 2020 regulations and has gone one step further by ratifying international treaties such as the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), an FAO legal instrument in an effort to get the required accreditation either from USA, EU, UK among others for export.
She said the competent Laboratory when completed, will actually be first of its kind since the 1970s.
“Once the lab is accredited, fishery products for export from Liberia, does not need to be routed through second member countries such as Ghana and Cote D’IVOIRE, availing an opportunity for direct revenue earnings from exports thereby triggering at least three times increment or more in its current revenue generation”.
Madam Glassco assured that the sophisticated equipment will be installed, managed and operated for couple of months by Icelandic consultants (after the COVID 19 pandemic subsides) recruited for the purpose of this project. She noted that the Icelandic government has also provided six months training for laboratory technicians to help operate the laboratory after the testing and trials period.
She disclosed that quite recently, about six of the staffers returned from Iceland equipped with both theoretical and technical skills to apply in the day to day operations of the Fisheries Competent Laboratory.
Director Glassco added the Fisheries Competent Laboratory will be jointly operated by NaFAA and the Liberia National Standard Laboratory, when acted into law for the purpose of uniformity and coherence of national protocols and set Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) which will be laid out by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed by heads of both institutions. Press Release