Robertsport City, the capital of Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia’s eighth populous county, is one of the country’s most known fishery cities. Most of the city’s residents, catch fish from the Atlantic Ocean and the famous Lake Piso, also known as the Fishermen Lake.
But the city has had its share of fish post-harvest issue, affecting Liberia’s 144 artisanal fishing communities that employ approximately 33,000 fisher folks. The sellers and fishermen in the city, smoke and dry their fish to reduce excess fish spoilage.
Moreover, fish sellers from nearby counties who traveled to Robertsport to buy fish, said they have been adjusting their buying schedules to avoid the sale of rotten fish which affects their profits.
However, major change that is now impacting the rest of the city’s artisanal fishery communities, came two years ago when the Enisul Fisheries Company was established.
The young company is the first, but also the only Liberian-owned fish processing and packaging company in Robertsport that supplies bulk of its packaged fish to the sellers, hotels and restaurants across the country. They process about six tons of fish daily.
Despite its popularity among the local fishery communities, the company is also redefining trade concept among the local fishery communities. It supplies local fishermen with fishing gears, a strategy that has resulted to improvement in catch among local fishermen.
Fabolia Kamara, CEO of Enisul Fisheries, told the Daily Observer that he made the decision to supply fishing materials to fishermen after he undertook a feasibility study of the fishing landscape.
“The issue of fishing materials is one of the problems confronting our local fishermen. Fishermen get everything from outside the country. Businesses that bring these materials triple the prices,” said Kamara.
“What is even worse, is that most of these fishermen in Robertsport cannot afford the price of materials. What I do is that, I purchase some fishing nets, canoe motors and produced ice that I gave to them to take on sea. They paid for some of the items by installment, but it does not stop me from buying the catch,” Kamar said.
Martin Noni, a fisherman in Kru Town, Robertsport termed the operation of Enisul Fisheries as a timely intervention, adding that fellow fishermen were experiencing lots of challenges.
“The presence of this company means a lot. It is helping everyone that is involved with fishery in this community. Before, we had nowhere to store our fish and we lost lots of money, because women were not willing to buy the rotten fish. If they are willing to buy, then we have to reduce our price. But now, things are a bit different to the extent that at least, we have a place that we can go to get fishing materials and also sell our [catch] a price little bit better,” said Noni.
Also, Princess Konnah, a resident of Bomi County, who traveled to Robertsport to buy fish for the past years, told our reporter that the presence of a Enisul Fisheries has improved her earnings.
“This is the nearest fishery community to my county. If you are not here early, you will not have fish to sell or you will get fish that are already rotten,” said Konnah.