The Government of Liberia through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) in collaboration with the Liberia National Coast Guard, has rescued a crew of fishermen from the Popo Beach Fishing Community who went missing on Friday, March 20, 2020 while fishing.
They were rescued after their canoe, which is 10 to 15 meters in length, powered by an outboard engine of 15 horsepower, failed at sea.
Initially, the four fishermen were rescued by a bulk carrier vessel named Montrose some 54 nautical miles off the Grand Bassa County and were received by the Liberian National Coast Guard some 25 nautical miles.
A NaFAA press release quotes the Director General as saying that the rescue efforts initiated by the Liberia National Coast Guard and National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority took place Tuesday, March 24, 2020 after the Fisheries Monitoring Center, which is effectively operated jointly by NaFAA and Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) 24/7 received an intelligence from the Collaborative Management Association (CMA) of Montserrado about the missing fishermen.
The CMA is a local fisheries governance structure put in place by NAFAA to effectively manage the coastal resources of Liberia.
Mrs. Emma Metieh Glassco mentioned that the “Fisheries Monitoring Center immediately informed the Liberia National Coast Guard and the Liberia Maritime Search and Rescue Center about the location which later led to the rescue of the four fishermen from high sea”.
Glassco disclosed that the fishermen who went missing and later rescued by the Coast Guard of the Ministry of National Defense were Isaac Kojo the captain, William Jerbo (not the footballer), and two others only identified as Diamond and Junior from Popo beach in New Kru Town.
According to NaFAA, from 2010 to 2017 more than 100 fishermen lost their lives. Last year, during the rainy season, about 9 fishermen lost their lives while fishing due to their failure to put in place safety measures despite awareness from NaFAA.
However, NaFAA has taken further steps to reduce said incident at sea including: Establishment of a CMA for the governance of coastal resources and reporting incidents of missing canoes to the FMC; A well equipped 24/7 Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC) with Very High Frequency (VHF) and High Frequency (HF) radio with channel 16 MHZ and 8.198 MHZ respectively for reporting incidents; and NaFAA has successfully piloted a pelagic tracker on artisanal canoes that enable to FMC to see their realtime position at any given time. This will be upscale in the US$40 million Liberia-World Bank fisheries project.
NaFAA, in collaboration with the Liberia Coast Guard, conduct regular sea patrols with the Fisheries Patrol Vessel Lonestar.