The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) says the fisheries’ agency will shortly begin issuing sanitary certificates to institutions or individuals importing and exporting fish and fish products through the airports, postal services and land borders in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) for parcel/consignment containing above 20% in volume and more than 5kg of fish product.
The decision to issue sanitary certificates to institutions comes following a recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).
The NaFAA and MOA MoU will ensure the conduct of quality assurance inspection of fish and fishery products and will include establishing the terms and conditions under which documentation is required for the export of fish and fishery products through exit points mentioned above.
According to the Director General of NaFAA, Madam Emma Glassco, NaFAA shall among other things be responsible to control fish handling, storing, landing, transportation, processing and marketing of fish and fish products.
Madam Glassco further stated that, her institution shall inspect operational fishery enterprises for compliance with fish safety regulations within the country.
She noted that NaFAA shall specify conditions for the placing on the market of fish, fish products and fish feed, as well as monitor the possession, import, export, transportation, selling and receiving of fish and fishery products, test and issue sanitary certificate for all fish and fish products leaving Liberia.
The MoU further states that MOA shall have the responsibilities to regulate the export of plants and livestock products to conserve dwindling species and protect the food supplies of Liberia.
The MoU also mentioned that where there are fish or fish products above 20% in volume and more than 5kg in a parcel, such consignment shall obtain a sanitary certificate and an export permit from NaFAA.
It also states that MOA shall inspect sanitary certificates issued by NaFAA only for parcel for export containing assorted items which include both plant and fish products, and issued zoo-sanitary and phytosanitary certificates for all processed commodities except fish and fish products and assigned personnel at entry and exit points (airports, postal services and land borders) as deemed necessary to control the movement of all animal and animal products, plants and plant products including processed food and agrochemicals.
Both parties shall also ensure that where there are fish or fish products above 20% in volume and more than 5kg in a parcel, such consignment shall obtain a sanitary certificate and an export permit from NaFAA.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture Jeanine M. Cooper sign on behalf of her ministry.
In a related development, NaFAA and MOA recently conducted a one-day workshop at the Mesurado Fishing Pier, Coast Guard Base on providing training on the collection of economic data on fish trade relative to the import and export of sanitary requirements by NaFAA.
The training further provides key information on the collective roles and functions of the various institutions including NaFAA, Ministry of Agriculture, and National Public Health Institute of Liberia etc.