Emma M. Glassco, Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), has urged residents of local fishing communities across the nine coastal counties in Liberia to work cooperatively with government in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in the country.
Mrs. Glassco says that IUU fishing activities can only be drastically reduced if residents of affected communities help the government to fight the menace.
She made the statement on Wednesday January 20, 2021 at the start of a three-day consultative stakeholders meeting with Kru fishing chiefs held at the Mesurado Pier on Bushrod Island, Monrovia.
During the meeting, Mrs. Glassco disclosed plans to launch a community surveillance program throughout fishing communities in Liberia to drastically reduce illegal fishing across the nine coastal counties in Liberia.
The NaFAA Boss mentioned that “The government through NaFAA will do everything possible to support the local fishing authorities in all of the nine coastal counties to aid the fight against illegal fishing activities”.
Mrs. Glassco said “We need the full support of all legal fishermen to combat illegal fishing because those illegal fishermen are taking away Liberia’s fisheries resources without any benefit to the country”.
She furthered disclosed that government through NaFAA will identify local fishing community leaderships, provide identification cards along with letter of authority among other things to enable them work toward the reduction of illegal fishing activities.
The NaFAA Director-General said a team from the Marine Fisheries and Environment Department and the Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) Department will shortly be deployed within counties of hot zones to work closely with local law enforcement authorities and community leaders to form the community surveillance team in combatting illegal fishing.
Meanwhile, padding canoe representatives attending the three-day consultative meetings from across the nine coastal counties have pledged their commitment in helping government through NaFAA to fight illegal fishing activities across Liberia.
The group of paddling canoe representatives (Kru Chiefs) disclosed that foreign fishermen including Ghanaians, Sierra Leoneans, Ivoirians and Senegalese are damaging their waters, and as such there is a need to adequately address the issue to reduce illegal fishing activities.
According to NaFAA, a group of Ghanian and Sierra Leoneans were last week arrested in Sasstown, Grand Kru County, for illegal fishing activities and their motorized engines taken to NaFAA technical office on the Bushrod Island.
“Those arrested were turned over to the local authorities for further questioning after which they will be referred to Monrovia for investigations,” NaFAA added.