Liberia: National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority Debunks Environmental Justice Foundation
MONROVIA – The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) is taken aback by a Press Release published by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), an international NGO, on May 14, 2021.
NaFAA views such publication as an attempt to undermine the gains Liberia has made in the fight against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing for over a decade and that the EJF aims to attract donor funding at the detriment of Liberia by misleading its international partners.
The publication offers a vague description of the project activities of EJF in Liberia, the use of an application that provides a means to capture operations of illegal vessels in Liberia waters remotely, and the reporting of the illegal fishing operations of two vessels within the coastal waters of Liberia. However, EJF failed to provide any information on the vessels captured fishing illegally, which has happened since February 2021.
With the interventions of development partners such as the World Bank and EU, NaFAA has made significant gains in curbing IUU fishing activities in Liberia. NaFAA has deployed a robust monitoring, control and surveillance systems in Liberia, welled strengthen Governance framework, revered and envied by the region due to the many successes over the past decade. NaFAA has deployed robust Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) systems in Liberia, revered and envied by the region due to the many successes over the past decade. NaFAA has a state-of-the-art Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC) with ocean-viewing software capable of monitoring vessels worldwide via Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). NaFAA has also employed a community surveillance system in various fishing communities where locals transmit IUU fishing activities.
NaFAA is a regional platform for information sharing relating to IUU fishing activities, having a solid link with the Regional Fisheries Monitoring Center through the Fishery Committee of the West and Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), stationed in Accra. Besides, through assistance from the World Bank, joint fisheries patrol with the Liberia Coast Guard (LCG) is regularly launched to ensure IUU fishing practices are either reduced or deterred.
All of these measures have ensured Liberia’s fisheries waters are expertly manned from far and near.
The EJF operates under the Laws of Liberia, and as such, will be required to abide by Liberia’s Laws. Using such an application within the fisheries and transmitting such information without the approval of the Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority is equivalent to the revocation of its accreditation to operate in Liberia.