President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued yet another Executive Order, pertaining to the management of the country’s fishery resources. The order, Executive Order #84, according to the Executive Mansion is in line with Article 7 of the Liberia Constitution which states that the government shall manage the natural resources of Liberia to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia.
The new executive order aims at attracting investment in the sector, which government says has been underutilized. “The fishery resources of the Republic of Liberia have been underutilized for over a decade and the Government of Liberia (Government) intends to encourage investment in this sector to ensure the sustainable development and utilization of this natural resource.” Adds the Executive Order No. 84.
“Whereas, the Government in furtherance of its intentions to begin to sustainably utilize its fishery resources has recognized that the Bureau of National Fisheries, a unit under the Ministry of Agriculture needs to be granted an autonomous status to enable it meet up with the demands and trends of fishing industry, and reduce the Government’s bureaucracy around the process of obtaining fishing license,” it noted.
Accordingly, the Government has initiated the process to pass legislation to transform the Bureau of National Fisheries to an autonomous agency of Government charged with the responsibility of managing and developing Liberia’s fishery resources, which would eventually attract investment and expand Liberia’s fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
“Whereas, the Government of Liberia being cognizant of the lengthy process involved with passing said legislation, realizes the need to institute and interim measure to ensure that Liberia begins the process of reforming its fishery sector. That in the exercise of the Executive Power vested in the President by the Constitution, the President may issue executive orders in the public interests, either to meet exigencies or address particular situations which cannot await lengthy legislative processes.”
“Now therefore, I Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, by the power vested in me under the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, do hereby issue the following as an interim measure until such time the National Fisheries Act is enacted into law thus establishing an autonomous fisheries agency.”
Excerpts of the order: “Section1: Authority and Scope – The Maritime Authority is hereby granted full and complete supervisory, oversight and fiscal authority of the Bureau of National Fisheries and Liberia’s fishery resources pending the enactment of the National Fisheries Act. This authority shall include the promulgation of regulations, guidelines, fees and the granting of licenses and authorizations for the sustainable utilization and management of Liberia’s fisheries resources.
Section 2: Application – To ensure that the objective of this executive Order is fully implemented, the following measures are deemed in place: All authorities, including supervisory and fiscal responsibilities over the Fisheries Sector including of the Bureau of National Fisheries shall now come under the full and complete control of the Liberia Maritime Authority; That the Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ) as established by the Fisheries Regulations of 2010 is hereby reduced from 6 nautical miles to 3 nautical miles. This is to ensure that industrial and semi-industrial fishing can restart and again become viable. That fishing vessels below 500 gross tons shall be exempt from all APM Terminal and other Port charges; That the cumulative stock of fishery resources to be harvested shall not exceed 100,000 metric tons per annum; and That the Bureau of national Fisheries, under the supervision of the Liberia Maritime Authority, will issue and publish revised guidelines and fiscal regime for obtaining Fishery License.”