Liberia: National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority Intensifies Fishing License Fees Collection
Harper City Maryland –The compliance and enforcement team of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority has intensified the collection of 2020/2021 fishing license fees in Harper city and other landing sites in Maryland County.
The NaFAA compliance and enforcement team is currently in Maryland County on a Southeastern tour which began since December 21, 2020 in Grand Bassa County.
NaFAA team with the help of the Liberia Coast Guard on Monday January 11, 2021 collected half a dozen of canoes belonging to paddling canoe operators in Cavalla fishing community and turned them over to the Town Chief Alexander H. Huskins.
Most of those fishermen in the paddling canoes category more often reneged on the payment of their fishing license fees with the “believe that the waters belong to their ancestors”.
However, due to the presence of the compliance and enforcement team of NaFAA surprising visit in the Cavalla fishing community, some of the paddling canoe fishermen immediately began complying by paying their 2020 fishing fees to NaFAA finance officer in Maryland county. Others promised to make payment after the intervention of their community leadership.
But, a NaFAA press release quoting the Deputy Director General for Technical Services, William Y. Boeh, the six canoes were taken from the sea shore and moved over to the compound of Cavalla Town Chief Huskins after the operators failed to pay their 2020 fishing license fees.
Hon. Boeh instructed Town Chief Huskins to collect the fees of the six canoes within three days and turnover said fees to NaFAA team in Maryland county.
Mr. Boeh noted that the paddle canoes operators have been involved into illegal, unreported and unregulated (Fishing without License) for the past one year along with other artisanal fishermen as such their action is in contradiction of the fisheries law of Liberia.
Town Chief Huskins has promised to ensure the collection of the 2020 fishing license fees from those illegal fishermen and also create an awareness for the 2021 collection when NaFAA announce a payment period.
He challenged the people of Cavalla particularly fishermen to be supportive of government as the fees being collected by NaFAA are used to” pay the salaries of teachers, buy school materials, buy medicines, pay the salaries of nurses and used to carry out other development including the constructions of basic infrastructures across Liberia”.
Paddling canoes operators pay LD$3,200.00 annually to fish across Liberia. They are not yet mandated to begin immediate payment of the 2021 fishing license fees as those using outboard engines following a planned consultative meeting scheduled for next week from January 20-22 in Monrovia.
The consultative meeting will bring together delegates from across the nine coastal counties as discussions will centered on issues relating to the operations of paddling canoe operators.
The NaFAA press release added that thousands of paddling canoes operators in 2020 defaulted in the payment of their fishing license fees which trickled the immediate deployment of the compliance and enforcement team across the nine coastal counties.
Meanwhile, the compliance team has already begun collecting fishing license fees for 2021 from some motorized canoes fishermen mainly in Harper city with the mandate that all fishermen should begin payment immediately as they have begun fishing in the new season.
The Deputy Director General and team are having discussions with authorities of the fishing communities including the sea chiefs and commissioners of the various districts along with other leaders, a strategy that is yielding fruitful results in the collection of the 2020 and 2021 fishing license fees.
Most of the fishing chiefs particularly the foreign fishers, take the lead in the payment of the license fees which automatically paved the way for others thus enabling NaFAA team to carry out collections of the fishing license fees in some fishing communities. At the same time, the presence of the Liberia Coast Guard is having a positive impact on the collection of the 2020/2021 fishing license fees.
The NaFAA team begun its operations in the southeast on December 21, 2020 with the first stop in Bassa Point fishing communities through Margibi county and later moved on to the Little Bassa fishing communities in Grand Bassa County. Members of the team visited several fishing communities in Grand Bassa county including big and small fanti towns and moved on to Rivercess county where some fishing communities were visited and collection of the 2020 fishing license fees took place.
Following the stay of the team in Rivercess, the team moved on to Greenville City, Sinoe County and later to Maryland County leaving behind Grand Kru which would be visited later while returning to Monrovia.