The Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), which is the new supervisory entity of the National Fishery Bureau (BNF), disclosed that the new fishery guidelines will not ignore the concerns of the public against President Sirleaf’s Executive Order issued in May.
After the release of Executive Order 84 last month, some fishery stakeholders and environmentalists expressed concern about dangerous fishing practices, poor monitoring system and fishery laws affecting the industry. But recently the Liberia Maritime Authority’s communication director, Mulbah K. Yorgbor, Jr., told the Daily Observer that the concerns of the public have been considered in the revised fishery guidelines to relieve the technical and scientific challenges in the industry.
Executive Order 84 grants the Maritime Authority full and complete supervisory oversight and fiscal authority of the Bureau of National Fishery and Liberia’s fishery resources pending the enactment of the National Fishery Act. LMA’s responsibilities include the publicizing of regulations, guidelines, fees and the granting of licenses.
Also the Order reduced the 6 nautical miles Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ) established by the Fisheries Regulation of 2010 to three in order to attract investment and boost industry and semi-industry activities.
“The new guidelines that will soon be released will look at the fishing gears used in the Liberian waters, fishing monitoring system and also the environmental aspect that the public is concerned about,” said Yorgbor.
Responding to the issue of the fishery zone, Yorgbor said that Maritime and the Fishery Bureau will work to ensure a safe fishing environment for fishery parties using Liberian waters.
“Our revised guidelines will create an environment where there will not be a shock competition among fishing vessels and artisanal canoes.
“There will be areas of protection because we don’t want artisanal fishermen and trawlers battling over nets and other issues like the previous time.
“We want to avoid vessels fishing in the same space at the same time by improving regulatory systems that will prevent such encounters. Moreover, we will employ inspectors on these vessels who will enforce industry vessels operating in their rightful space,” he said.
Yorgbor disclosed that the LMA will meet with stakeholders, especially fishing communities before the revised guidelines expire.