Making her debut appearance at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing in Monrovia, the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority or NaFAA Emma Matieh Glassco vows to decentralize fisheries in the country for enhanced revenue generation.
She says there are prospects for the Fisheries sector as several investors are currently expressing investment interest. “We are taking our time to review at the moment”.
The NaFAA boss notes that the investment plan of NaFAA is so unique and attractive thus, leading to huge prospects unfolding currently in the fishery sector.Madam Glassco stresses that constant monitoring, control and surveillance of the territorial waters of Liberia remains an uncompromising task for the entity.
“We are considering plans to begin phasing out of paddling canoes to introduce motorized boats for our fishing folks, which will enable them to improve their fishing and catch methods, and put them on par with their international competitors”.
She says the Authority wants to decentralize the Core Management Association (CMA)program to have a countrywide effect which will in turn help to enhance compliance, making use of locals to administer the affairs and fetch some income for themselves.
“Plans are underway very soon to improve the fish landing cluster located in Robertsports, which include processing plant, ice refrigerating plant, land site smoking oven facility and an ideal fresh fish market”.
Liberian waters, sea and rivers have a lot of fish products that are highly needed on the world market, particularly in West Africa and other countries where there is huge deletion of fish as a result of unrestricted fishing or illegal fishing activities.
Unlike those areas, Liberian waters are attracting huge investors from European Union Countries that are interested in the huge storage of tuna products along with other vital fish products which are in high demand globally.
Madam Glassco narrates that with these huge prospects for investment in the fishery sector, many Liberians stand to gain employment, cheaper market price of fish, and surplus supply, thereby narrowing the supply deficit of over 30,000 per annum.
Providing an overview of the entity, Director General Glassco says NaFAA is a new entity charged with the responsibility of regulating fisheries and aquaculture affairs in Liberia. It has a constitutional responsibility to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing across Liberian waters. It is also ensuring that legal fishing activities take place in the nine fishing counties, including Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Margibi and Maryland Counties, respectively.
Due to the huge fishing of economically viable fish species, she reveals plans to place a moratorium on fishing in Liberian waters especially, with focus on certain species of fish and sea food that are highly demanded by local consumers.
She continues that plans are also underway to restrict amount of vessels fishing within Liberian waters at a given period of time by placing a cap on activities to implement best practices as it is done in other Countries. “This is something embedded within our current fisheries management strategy which is under review, a decision informed by the current stock assessment data gathered”.
Madam Glassco stresses, “When each vessel is assigned a set quota and monitored regularly for violations, it will largely reduce the likelihood for overfishing.”
--Editing by Jonathan Browne