The Management of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has announced that it will shortly begin installing a monitoring device known as the Automatic Identification System (IAS Class B)) on every canoe fishing in Liberian waters for the purpose of effective tracking in time of emergency.
The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated, autonomous tracking system that is extensively used in the maritime world for the exchange of navigational information between AIS-equipped terminals. It is capable of sending information such as identification, position, course, speed, and more, to other ships and to shore.
Making the disclosure on March 21, while serving as a guest on ELBC’s Super Morning Show, Director-General Emma Metieh Glassco said the fisheries authority was concerned about human casualty at sea and hoped that the equipment will reduce casualty at sea.
“We’re going to start our safety program for our local fishermen and we will start it by July. We’ll have a transponder on all canoes. It’s a monitoring device. It will help reduce casualty at sea. Once a canoe is in distress, we’ll get signal and the Coast Guard will move in right away."
This is the second safety management plan announced by NaFAA. Recently, the fisheries management body announced the donation of lifejackets by President George Manneh Weah for use by fishermen in the country. The donation was in fulfillment of a promise to fishermen by the Liberian leader in October 2021 at the official launch of Japanese donated YAMAHA engines to the government through NaFAA.
Meanwhile, the NaFAA boss has reassured Liberians of a fishing port for Liberia, this she added is “support from the World Bank, the fishing port would cost 21 million United States dollars”.
Director-General Glassco informed the public through media that the new port will be constructed at the Mesurado pier in Bushrod Island. She said Liberia is losing millions from the fisheries sector due to the lack of fishing ports to accommodate industrial vessels, and such ports would help the government generate more revenues.
“We’re going to build a fishing port for 21 million dollars. That is a 360-degree swing in the fisheries sector. All of the gigantic ships that are fishing in our waters would be compelled to land at our port. Fishing vessels are not landing here because we don’t have the facility”.
The Mesurado Pier was the site of one of the largest fish export operations in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s but has fallen into disrepair since the conflict. This construction would provide the country with a key entry point for fish processing and products.
The state-of-the-art modern fishing port is expected to contain an onshore processing facility for value addition. Through the World Bank Projects, there would also be the establishment of landing jetties targeted in coastal counties such as Margibi, Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, and Maryland all of these have densely populated fishing communities, in an effort to reduce the huge post-harvest loss and supply the domestic market with high-quality fish products which have a fish demand deficit of 33, 000 metric tons.