The commercial Hub of Paynesville over the weekend witnessed a temporary closure of six cold storage including the famous Chinese cold storage in the NeeZoe Community for several illegal reasons ranging from not being in compliance with NaFAA’s regulations, being in possession of juvenile and rotten fish, operating within unhygienic environment, and lack of safety gears for their workers among others.
The joint inspection team which was previously led by the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority NaFAA, Mrs. Emma Glassco Friday April 27, 2018 shut down a total of six cold storages in Red Light market and in the Neezoe community.
The cold storages affected temporarily as a result of the inspection exercise were the famous Chinese cold storage in Neezoe community, SCODI Liberia and National Frozen Food all along the Gobachop market road, African ZHONG CHENG HAI, Mohamed Frozen Food, and KASSEM MOCHAWRAB Center.
The joint inspection team discovered during the several hours of inspection that throughout Red Light Market and the Neezoe Community that all of the cold storages were not part of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority data, lack proper safety gear for their workers, and were operating without licenses from NaFAA and the Ministry of Health.
Upon the arrival of the joint inspection team at the Famous Chinese cold storage it was discovered that they were operating in an unhygienic environment particularly with offensive smell from the bathroom near the main operating cool storage which had some large species of fish.
As for African ZHONG CHENG HAI along Bob Taylor road , Mohamed Frozen Food and the National Frozen Food cold storages, they all had several cartons of rotten fish ready to be sold on the Market through their numerous customers as usual particularly over the weekends and Sundays morning and evening. According to some of the Marketers who witnessed the action of the joint inspection team “those rotten fish are bought by cook bowl sellers who are in the hobbit of paying little for huge quantities of supplies which are already contaminated”.
African ZHONG CHENG HAI , Mohamed Frozen Food and National Frozen Food cool storages were also shut down for illegally operating without obtaining require documents from the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority and the Ministry of Health and operating in an unhygienic environment while selling the fish to their customers who in term sell to larger consumers.
As for KASSEM MOCHAWRAB Center also in the commercial hub of Red Light the owners are also operating without the knowledge of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority and the Ministry of Health thus operating illegally.
During the joint inspection, the Director of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority Mrs. Emma Glassco cautioned operators of the illegal cold storages in Red Light Market and Neezoe Community to regularize their status with NaFAA and the Ministry of Health. She reminded them that NaFAA is responsible for regulating all fishing activities in Liberia and including the operation of cold storages in the Country.
Meanwhile, upon the reopening of the six cool storage Saturday April 28, 2018, the Deputy Director for Technical Services at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority gave the operators of a one week ultimate to ensure their registration with NaFAA before the imposition some penalties in accordance with the institution’s regulations.
“if any of you cold storages operators fail to come over to head of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority beginning the first week of May 2018 the joint inspection team will have no alternative but to fully implement the laws” Mr. Boeh indicated.
Several of the cold storages operators have expressed willing to regularize their status to set matter with government. One of the Lebanese cold storage operator pointed out that “actually this was not done during the days of the past government as a result we were aware of such registration processes or obtaining licenses before operating a cold storage in Liberia”.
However, they have committed to the government of Liberia to immediately by May 2018 ensure that they settle matter with both the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority and the Ministry of Health.
The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) regulates all fishing activities on the sea and rivers across Liberia and the operation of all cold storages. NaFAA issues Industrial fishing vessels license to fish in Liberian waters, thus generating revenue for the government of Liberia.
NaFAA, which came into being after the passage of an act in October 2017 was previously the Bureau of National Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and later transferred to the Liberia Maritime Authority as a Bureau.
The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority is also responsible to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing at national and international level. Therefore, NaFAA is ensuring that legal fishing activities take place across Liberia in the nine coastal counties including Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Margibi and Maryland Counties.