More than 500 artisan fishermen comprising Liberians and Ghanaians want stakeholders in the fisheries sector of the country to empower them with preservation facilities at the Greenville port in Sinoe County.
The artisan fishermen and women specifically appealed for mounted boat machines, nets, cold-storage, spare-parts’ stores and above all capacity building in the form of training.
They further appealed to the Bureau of National Fisheries (BNF), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), West Africa Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP) Liberia for the exposure of Liberian fishermen to foreign training.
The fishermen and women expressed their desire to be trained in the areas of preservation, cold-management, canoe repairs, business skills, project proposal writing, administrative and leadership skills and basic accounting skills.
Due to the gross lack of modern preservation facilities at the Greenville port, profit margins on the sales of the various kinds of fishes have not lifted them from the poverty lines in Sinoe County.
The fishermen also pointed out that the costs associated with the importation of materials such as nets and spare-parts, are daunting challenges and constraints being encountered by them at the port city Greenville in Sinoe County.
They explained that fishing materials intended to enhance the work of the canoes and make them effective are brought in the country from the West African state of Ghana and other countries in the sub-region.
The fishermen and women also underscored the need for the construction of a modern fishing landing facility that would help preserve the fish for a longer period in Greenville, Sinoe County.
On the current effect of the method being used to preserve (dry) the fish, the fishermen and women intimated that the continuous use of the dry red wood has long-term medical implications on the eyes and some parts of the body.
Throwing light on other challenges and constraints, the fishermen and women spoke of poor preservation methods (using dry red wood), poorly constructed canoes and sanitation crisis prone environment.
The fishermen and women asserted that they lack adequate latrine and bath room facilities at the port city of Greenville in Sinoe County.
“We work so hard to catch the fish in large quantities and gain very little profits, owing to the general lack of modern preservation facilities that could keep our fish for a longer period of time at the port of Greenville in Sinoe County,” fishermen Andrew B. Doe asserted.
Asked about foreign vessels that sometimes venture into Liberian territorial waters, Mr. Doe, who is also the Coordinator of the Sinoe Fishermen Association, noted that such condition does not exist at the moment at the Greenville port.
Coordinator Doe also disclosed that during the high peak of the Dry Season, strange fishing vessels with inscription ‘Senegal’ are often spotted at the Greenville Port.
Commenting on when fishermen normally catch more fish in the Atlantic Ocean, Coordinator Doe indicated that from the month of October to December of each year, they generate more profits on the sales of fish.
“Our area at the Greenville port contains steep and large solid rocks that sometimes damage the foreign vessels that on some occasions come to fish in the Liberian territorial waters in Sinoe County,” Coordinator Doe indicated.
For his part, fisherman Jeremiah Brooks told the Daily Observer that current place of habitation is plagued with insurmountable sanitation crisis that needs external support from partners in the fisheries sector of the country.
“Our environment is contaminated with multiple air and water borne diseases owing to the wanton disposal of garbage and other hazardous waste products,” fisherman Brooks lamented.