Liberia: NaFAA’s Boss Keen to Building Stronger Bilateral Ties with China in Fisheries

Director-General Madam Emma Metieh Glassco during a courtesy visit to the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Ren Yisheng at his Chinese Embassy office near Monrovia on Monday, May 9.  

The Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Emma Metieh Glassco, has made Liberia’s case to the Chinese government through its Embassy near Monrovia for a stronger bilateral relationship between the two counties in the Liberian fisheries sector.

Madam Glassco encouraged the Chinese to look toward the fisheries sector while undertaking development projects in Liberia. She commended the Chinese for all the support they have provided NaFAA, especially providing training opportunities for the staff, both at the Master’s Degree level and the short-term technical training.

She further stated that currently, NaFAA is seeking investment in the small-scale fisheries, especially in attracting semi-industrial vessels to boost local production to curb the fish demand deficit. 

According to her, Liberia will only be opened to industrial fishing vessels after the completion of a comprehensive stock assessment, which is expected to commence in June of this year.

The Director-General was speaking Monday, May 9, 2022, when she paid a courtesy call to the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Ren Yisheng, at his Chinese Embassy office near Monrovia.

On improving fisheries development in Liberia, she informed the Chinese of the current World Bank project which supports the establishment of a Fisheries Degree Program at the University of Liberia.

She asked the Chinese to assist in providing technical support to the UL program, especially the Aquaculture program, by providing experts or professors as well as other professionals for knowledge sharing and capacity development.

She proposed a training of trainers program, which would provide more opportunities to develop local talents in aquaculture development. She said there is a need for assistance to bridge the skill gaps in the Aquaculture sector.

Concluding, the country’s fisheries boss informed the Chinese diplomat of NaFAA’s decision to adopt climate-smart approaches in the fisheries sector, by transitioning from dugout wooden canoes to Fiberglass boats.

She encouraged the Chinese, who are one of the leading manufacturers of Fiberglass boats, to take advantage of the investment opportunities to start the local production of Fiberglass boats in Liberia. She said it is a great business opportunity in the sector and will also provide job opportunities for the Liberian people.

In response, Ambassador Ren expressed his delight in Madam Glassco’s visit and her interest in partnering with the Chinese Embassy to strengthen the Liberia Fisheries Sector. Ambassador Ren said he is impressed that NaFAA had taken full advantage of the training opportunities that were offered to its staff in China. 

However, he mentioned that due to the current COVID Pandemic, scholarships and training are now online and the Chinese Economic and Commercial Consulate provides hundreds of online programs for Liberians. He encouraged NaFAA management to take advantage of the opportunities and apply for the online training. 

In response to the request for technical support for the UL program, Ambassador Ren stated that he was very impressed with DG Glassco’s Training of Trainers concept and he believes that this will be the best approach and requires support.

He further stated that the Chinese Embassy attaches great importance to NaFAA and is willing to partner with the entity for the development of the sector.

 He said that China is heavily involved in aquaculture and is willing to support NaFAA to improve aquaculture development especially by bringing experts for training and providing other opportunities in introducing different aquaculture techniques for the sector, such as improving fish pond construction, cage fish farming among others.

In closing Madam Glassco and Ambassador Ren agreed to develop a bilateral relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the scope of technical support to NaFAA’s programs and the fisheries sector.