The compliance and enforcement team of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority NaFAA, has arrested some illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishermen, mainly Ghanaians.
The NaFAA team headed by the Deputy Director-General for Technical Services Hon. William Y. Boeh including his staffers along with the Liberia Coast Guard, carried out the arrest along the coast of Grand Kru.
According to a NaFAA release, the arrest took place in a hidden fishing community known as Nifu, along the Dorbor River, Sass Town connecting the sea in Grand Kru county following a tip off by some local fishermen in Grandcess.
The fishermen in Grandcess informed NaFAA compliance team that those Ghanaian fishermen are migrant fishermen and are involved in illegal activities in Nifu fishing community.
The local Grandcess fishermen who spoke during a meeting with NaFAA compliance and enforcement team Thursday, January 14, 2021, further disclosed that the IUU Ghanaian fishermen (fishing without License) are noted for running into their nets through their nets whenever they are fishing illegally.
At the same time, NaFAA’s team in Grand Kru County said that the migrant fishermen registered under false pretense that they were resident Ghanaian fishermen but their activities speak to the fact that they were migrants.
The NaFAA Grand Kru team also mentioned that following the registration of the Ghanaian fishermen, an investigation was launched and it was established they were migrant fishermen involved in fermented fish commonly called mwehn-mwehn unknown to the Liberian fisheries authority.
Making disclosure following more than four-hour motorized canoe ride at the hideout of the IUU Ghanaian fishermen, the Supervisor of the small skills unit within the Marine & Environment Division of NaFAA, Mr. Emmanuel B. Davis, mentioned that those Ghanaian fishermen have established their own fishing communities separate from the locals. All fermented fish caught last fishing year (2020) were undeclared to the Fisheries Authority and illegally shipped out of Liberia.
In a related development, NaFAA compliance and enforcement team has also seized two motor engines belonging to a group of notorious sea cucumber fishermen headed by a Sierra Leonean, Mr. Adulia Massaray.
The illegal sea cucumber fishermen, who previously registered to fish sea cucumbers with a single motorized engine and a canoe in 2020, brought in another engine and a canoe without the consent of NaFAA.
The Sierra Leonean sea cucumber fishermen operated with their illegal (unregistered) canoes and outboard motor engines since the beginning of 2021. Since 2021 they violated the fisheries laws of Liberia by exporting their sea cucumbers without an export permit from NaFAA thus depriving the sector of legal finances.
They previously operated in Rivercess County where the compliance and enforcement team had visited in late December 2020 in search of them but they escaped after having been informed by some locals.
The sea cucumber fishermen later escaped to Sasstown in Grand Kru County where they thought they could have operated without the supervision of the competent authority, NaFAA.
These international illegal fishermen have been hosted group of Liberians in all of the hide outs with the fishing communities across coastal communities in Liberia as such the need to have them arrested for illegally taken away fish resources from Liberian waters already exist.
Meanwhile, five of the seven outboard engines seized by the NaFAA Compliance Team belongs to the group of illegal Ghanaian fishermen while the other two belongs to the illegal sea cucumber fishermen who are mainly Sierra Leoneans.
The Outboard engines (15 horse power) are being transported to Buchanan City, Grand Bassa county to be turned over to the Liberia Coast Guard for onward delivery to the technical offices of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority.
Illegal fishing activities have over the years caused serious financial loss to the Liberian fisheries sector thus depriving the sector of millions of United States Dollars which could have contributed to the developmental programs of Liberia. The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority has over the years arrested both local and International illegal, unreported and unregulated fishermen, their nets and Outboard engines but it appears that they are doubling their illegal efforts to damage the Liberian fisheries waters.