Liberia: Fishermen in Grand Cape Get Net Washing Machine
Net cleaning is a difficult task for many fishermen in the fishing communities within Liberia. But with the introduction of net washing machines many fishermen's work now becomes easier.
The washing machines were donated by the Liberian Government through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA). It is part of an effort to modernise the fishing activities of artisanal fishermen within the country.
Over the years, the government of Liberia has worked to ensure that fishermen's lives improve in the fishing communities through the provision of nets and outboard motorised fishing machines to improve their catches.
The Director General of the country’s Fisheries Authority, Emma Metiah-Glassco said the donation of the net washing machine provides further proof of how the Authority wishes to support and engage with inshore fishing communities.
“This is a quick intervention, supporting a fishing community to use sensible nets that are good for fisheries conservation, directly after such a request from them for help,” Glassco said.
Glassco further said that the project is a demonstration for the much wider support the government of Liberia has planned under the World Bank fisheries Project.
She added that it comes at the time when the president has provided lifejackets to safeguard the lives of all fishermen across Liberia.
“This small project is just one demonstration for the much wider support we have planned under the World Bank Project. And it comes at the same time when the President has released life jackets to safeguard the lives of our fishermen across Liberia.
“Our inshore fisheries are the most protected fisheries in West Africa. We are committed to working with our communities and Co-Management Associations to maintain them this way, as they continue to grow sustainably and provide employment and food security to Liberia,” she added.
It can be recalled, as part of a nationwide consultation with fishing communities, to enhance the World Bank funded Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project (LSMFP), staff from NaFAA visited fishing communities in Grand Cape Mount County to ascertained at first hand the best support their fishing communities can be given to help maximise the benefits of Liberia’s rich inshore fisheries, for employment, food security, and value export earnings .
The lead Supervisor of the Robertsport Technical Management team at the fishery hub, D. Wisseh Kay, said local fishermen and fishmongers in the community should see the new net washing machine as the fisheries authority keen interest to listen and learn from fishing communities, rather than to tell them what they need and what is good for them.
NaFAA representative D Wisseh Kay, surrounded by CMA officers and local fishermen in Bendu, during the handover ceremony for the net washing machine
Kaye pointed out that when the team were visiting Bendu, they heard and saw at first hand, and the physical work fishermen were involved in when cleaning their nets.
“These nets are good for conservation, they only catch the largest fish and do not cause pollution like plastic nets.”
Kaye said NaFAA is keen to encourage their use, and quickly identified that a pressure washing machine could reduce the hard work fishermen are involved in daily and make their nets more useful.
The local fishermen were immediately provided training on the operation, cleaning and basic servicing of the machinery as well as the machine and water barrel, also provided were spare parts, tools, oil and fuel for the machine.
Meanwhile, Dodde M. Graye, Town Chief, admitted that they were grateful to NaFAA for taking their plight into immediate consideration.
"We in Bendu can assure NaFAA that we will take every step to look after this machine, to operate it correctly, and service it as needed. Net cleaning is a necessary task for our fishermen after every few days of fishing, and this machine will make their work much easier,” Graye said.
Following the training, the machine was started up, and in front of the audience from the village, the first dirty nets were cleaned rapidly with the machine, taking only a few brief minutes rather than 40 minutes as has been the traditional cleaning with wooden stick.
Pic 2: Bendu Town Chief Dodde M Graye, signs to receive the net washing machine.