NaFAA, FAO Sign MOU for Fisheries Research
MONROVIA – The government of Liberia, through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, has signed a fisheries research Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Monrovia.
The MOU entails fisheries independent stock assessment using a fisheries research vessel named Dr. Firdtjof Nansen, for the enhancement of small scales fisheries and capacity building.
At the same time, the MOU will support the application of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management considering the climate and pollution impacts.
Speaking Thursday during the signing ceremony, the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority Mrs. Emma Metieh Glassco disclosed that the MOU has huge economic prospects for Liberia.
Mrs. Glassco assured that the collaboration between the Liberian Fisheries Authority and the FAO, will enable the Country to have access to current fisheries data from the fish stock assessments which have not been available for several decades.
The Fisheries Boss of Liberia mentioned that with the availability of those fisheries data from the stock assessments, Authorities of NaFAA will use the information gathered to operate fisheries programs that have not been operational.
Madam Glassco said the National fisheries and Aquaculture Authority has not been in the position to issue other fisheries licenses because of the lack of data to make informed decision.
She disclosed that Liberia has six fisheries, with the large pelagic and deep water demersal open to industrial vessels, and the four not open to industrial vessels because there is no data to make informed decisions.
“We haven’t been able to give out any fish license for those fisheries because we do not have any recent statistics on the status of the fish stocks so that whole fish regime has not been operated for a very long time” the NaFAA Boss emphasized.
Mrs. Glassco noted that information gather from the assessment will inform NaFAA’s management on how to develop a fish quota management plan, which will also be used for fish licensing program to give vessels certain quota to fish in Liberian waters.
Commenting earlier, the Country Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Mariatou Njie, reemphasized the United Nations’ support toward the development and improvement of the Liberian fisheries sector.
Madam Njie noted that collaboration between NaFAA and the FAO will enable Liberia, through the local fisheries authority, to have a clear picture of the current status of the fish stock and make proper decisions that will yield economic benefits.
The FAO Boss said the agreement was reached among the seven countries in the Gulf of Guinea including Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, among others.
She also mentioned that the agreement will enable countries involved to exchange knowledge and experience.