With support from the European Union, fishermen, fishmongers, and processors have elected a new set of leaders for the three Collaborative Management Associations (CMAs) in Grand Cape Mount County.
The new leaders will steer the affairs of the CMAs for region I, II and III within the next three years. They will advocate for the wellbeing of fisheries, ensure sustainable fisheries practices are adhered to and help to reduce illegal fishing activities.
The elections for the CMA leaderships were held over the weekend in the county organized by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) Communities of Fisheries project in collaboration with the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Authority (NaFAA).
The CMA is the body of fisheries private sector organizations responsible for the sustainable management of the fisheries sector.
More than 1,500 registered voters peacefully went to the polls last Saturday within the various regions to cast votes for 38 candidates, males and females who were vying for the positions of president, vice president, general secretary, financial secretary, treasurer and auditor.
Speaking with journalists at the conclusion of the elections, the program officer of EJF, Augustine Fayiah, said that the electoral processes were successfully carried out.
He stated that the Communities of Fisheries project aims to support the small-scale fisheries sector to organize leadership so as to improve the food security and livelihood of residents within the coaster communities.
According to him, the elected leaders are expected to adequately govern the affairs of the CMAs in their respective fisheries communities and to support the government’s efforts in the fight against illegal fishing activities.
He said over the period of time his institution had established the co-management associations in coastal counties of Margibi, Grand Bassa, and Grand Kru counties.
Fayiah said that CMA leadership in Cape Mount had been dormant for a decade but with request from the fisheries authority they have worked to reactivate the organization.
“There has been a lack of leadership in the past making the fisheries communities in this county very much ineffective. We have been working with them through consultation to bring this process to a success,” he mentioned.
Fayiah added that since then his organization has been involved with the fishing communities to ensure that they are organized.
“The project is also empowering women to become decision makers in the fisheries sector as well as empowering them through village saving loans associations,” Fayiah added.
Nimene Doe, president elect of region one, promised to network with his colleagues in leadership to govern the affairs of the CMAs.
“I would like to thank the fishers for their decisions to have me and others elected. We shall work tediously to govern the affairs of the people and work to reduce illegal fishing,” he said.
Doe, who topped candidates in his region with 207 votes, said that with support from international partners, illegal fishing is gradually being reduced in the country.
The Associate Director for Policy and Investment at NaFAA, Solomon Daryoue, said that he was pleased about the electoral processes and he said that the fisheries authority stands ready to support the CMAs in helping to ensure a sustainable fisheries sector.