Liberia: Local Fishermen Complain on the Quality of NaFAA New Fishing Nets
MONROVIA — Local fishermen have criticized recent move by the National Fisheries and Aqua Culture Authority (NaFAA) to change their fishing nets.
The fishermen who spoke with FrontPageAfrica over the weekend said the fishing net intended to be distributed by NaFAA is not durable compared to the ones being used by them and will cost them serious losses.
They said, the decision to change their fishing nets is good, but it must be done with durable nets.
NaFAA recently disclosed the arrival of a huge consignment of internationally recommended threat free fishing net, expected to be distributed among fisher men who have met all tax compliance.
The arrival of the nets according to NaFAA, is a part of the World Bank sponsored project for Sustainable Management of Fishery Resources.
NaFAA said, the net exchange program will begin with Montserrado County, followed by other counties.
Acdordingly, the first set of beneficiaries will be fishermen at Banjor, Popo Beach, West Point and the King Gray fishing sites.
“This means all fishermen using the rubber nets or the monofilament nets will be required to turn over all their rubber nets to NaFAA team during the free distribution to receive the thread nets or the multifilament nets,” NaFAA said in a released.
NaFAA says after a successful net exchange program and consultation with fisher folks, it shall ban the usage of monofilament or rubber nets in Liberia.
At the same time, NaFAA states that only fishermen who have been paying their fishing license fees since 2019-2020 (past 2 years) will be qualified to receive the free nets.
This means, fishermen who have not paid their fishing license fees since 2018 will not receive the free fishing nets and they will no longer be allowed to use the rubber nets for fishing purposes.
“The rubber nets are dangerous to the fishing environment and other aquatic resources. Meanwhile, the free nets distribution will shortly be followed by the free Yamaha motorized engines distributions to Kru canoes or paddling canoes operated by fishermen in Liberia,” NaFAA added.
But the fishermen have argued that the nets being introduced are not of quality for effective fishing purpose and may cost them loses.
The fishermen also complained that recent taxes imposed on them by NaFAA are very high and could deprive them from reaching the tax compliance benchmark.
As a result, they stated that most of them may not be able to benefit from the distribution, eventhough they argued that the nets are not of quality.
At the same time two of the fishermen, Hilton Smythe, one of the fishermen in West Point said contrary to the net being free, the payment being requested is equivalent to paying for the net.
“The net is not good and will not last long like the ones we have. The new net is made in a way that we will not be able to catch the enough fish,” Smyth said.
However, NaFAA Deputy Director for Administration, Augustine M. Manoballah said the nets are of quality and it is intended to curb illegal fishing activities.
Mr. Manoballah is calling on all fishermen in the country to comply to the mandate of receiving fishing nets in the country.