The Director-General of National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) is urging residents of local fishing communities across the nine coastal counties to work cooperatively with government to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in Liberia.
Speaking Wednesday at the start of a three-day consultative stakeholders meeting with Kru fishing chiefs taking place at the Mesurado Pier on Bushrod Island, Emma Metieh Glassco stated that “IUU fishing activities can only be drastically reduced if residents of affected communities help government fight the menace.”
Mrs. Glassco disclosed plans to launch a community surveillance program throughout fishing communities in Liberia to severely reduce illegal fishing across the coastal counties in the country.
The top official mentioned that “the government through NaFAA will do everything possible to support the local fishing authorities in all of the coastal counties to aid in the fight against illegal fishing activities.”
Mrs. Glassco said “we need the full support of all legal fishermen to combat illegal fishing” because those illegal fishermen are taking away Liberia’s fishery resources without benefit to the country.’
She furthered disclosed that government through NaFAA will identify local fishing community leaderships, provide identification cards along with letter of authority, among others, to enable them work toward the reduction of illegal fishing.
The NaFAA Director General said a team from the Marine Fisheries and Environment department and the MCS Department will shortly be deployed within counties with hot zones to work closely with local law enforcement authorities and community leaders to form the local surveillance team in combatting illegal fishing.
Meanwhile, paddling canoe representatives attending the three-day consultative meeting from across the nine coastal counties have pledged their commitment in helping government through NaFAA to fight illegal fishing across the country.
The group of paddling canoe representatives (Kru Chiefs), disclosed that foreign fishermen, including Ghanaians, Sierra Leoneans, Ivoirians and Senegalese, are damaging their waters and, as such, there is a need to adequately address the issue and reduce illegal fishing activities.
A as part of efforts to combat illegal fishing in the country, a group of Ghanaians and Sierra Leoneans were last week arrested in Sasstown, Grand Kru County for illegal fishing activities and their motorized engines taken to NaFAA technical office on Bushrod Island.
Those arrested were turned over to the local authorities, according to a release, for further questioning after which they will be referred to Monrovia for additional probe.