The Director General for the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority or NFAA, Emma Metieh Glassco, discloses here that the European Union has approved a grant of Euros 10 million for the NFAA. She adds that the NFAA is at the verge of successfully completing staffing and structuring of the Authority.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing recently on Capitol Hill, she notes that the NFAA intends to use the grant to dredge the fishing harbor, install cold storage facilities in major fishing communities, invest in research stock assessment and initiate robust aquaculture activities.
“We are currently exploring opportunity to provide pre-mixed gas for our local fishermen, with this we have begun negotiations with NP Gas Station to be our initial supplier. The King Gray community has been earmarked to be our pilot project, to be launched in a couple days upon green light from LEC,” she explains.
She says the entity is reviewing a tuna investment proposal worth almost US$300,000 with Senegal and has also been awarded five scholarships from their Chinese counterpart to assist in the training and education of technical staff in aquaculture management and law enforcement in marine fisheries.
“Through our enforcement effort with the Liberia National Coast Guard, we were able to arrest two illegal industrial fishing vessels (F/V Benty1 & Labiko) which has been fined $250,000 respectively. That should have been remitted to the Authority’s account on the 10th of April.”
According to her, six artisanal fishing boats semi-industrial migrant boats were founded engaged in illegal activities in Liberia’s territorial waters and subsequently fined US$42,000 to be paid also into the Authority’s account.
“The prospect for the sector seems bright from the outlook, with many investors expressing interest, something, we are taking our time to review now”, she adds.
The NFAA Director General reveals that there are plans to place a moratorium on fishing in waters, with specific focus on certain species of fish and sea food that are very scarce.
“This is something embedded within our current Fisheries Management Strategy which is under review, a decision informed by the current stock assessment data gathering, wherein each vessel is assigned a set quota, monitored regularly for which violation warrants a fine.”
She continues that with the help of the World Bank, they have embarked on creating necessary awareness to phase out use of monofilament fishing nets, which destroys juvenile or young fish stocks, stressing that they are working with the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of Commerce in this regard.
Madam Glassco also notes that the entity has set a timeframe to give local fishermen some time to do away with the use of substandard nets, adding that the Authority has identified a firm that is involved in the importation of standardized fishing nets with appropriate net size.
By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne