Fishermen in Liberia particularly those using paddling canoes are set to receive free thread nets or the multifilament nets to replace the current rubber nets / monofilament nets which poises threat to the marine environment an initiative supported by the World Bank.
The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, NaFAA embarked on a three day (from April 28-30, 2021) robust awareness campaign within fishing communities in Montserrado, Bomi and Margibi Counties. The awareness campaign under the theme “Rubber Nets for Thread Nets” was led on float by the Director General of NaFAA with the presence of the Liberia National Coast Guard, the Liberia National Police, the Liberia Immigration Service, the Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association and the Core-Management Association.
The intense roadshow helped in eradicating misinformation across fishing communities in Montserrado, Bomi and Margibi Counties about government alleged abrupt plan to ban the rubber nets and introduce the thread nets regarded as bad nets.
Speaking across fishing communities in the three counties including Popo beach, West point, Banjor, tomah town, King Gray, ELWA beach, Kpekor, Bernard Beach, and Marshall among others, NaFAA DG assured that government through NaFAA would create what she termed as the conducive environment for fishermen before announcing a ban on the destructive rubber nets.
Hon. Emma Metieh Glassco promised that NaFAA will first ensure that the thread nets are abundant on the markets and are available in all coastal counties, affordable for fishermen to purchase before NaFAA institute the provision of the law that bans the usage of the rubber nets.
Hon. Glassco further stated that NaFAA will hold discussions and collaborate with relevant government entities including the Ministry of Commerce on a ban of the importation of rubber nets before implementing the law on the product.
Madam Glassco is quoted as saying “this CDC led government which was overwhelmingly elected by the people does not intend to strangulate its citizens needless to say fishermen whom we are depending on to supply the markets with fish”.
She also added “the government is aware that fishing is your source of livelihood through which your families depend on and the government is sensitive to the genuine concerns raised in regards to the immediate ban of the rubber net/monofilament nets which is in high demand and affordable unlike the multifilament nets.
Madam Glassco mentioned that “we will ensure that the right modalities are put place, maybe it cloud take six months, one or two years before the ban is implemented from importation to usage of rubber nets across the nine coastal counties”.
The NaFAA Boss clarified that the government is ‘introducing the thread nets into the Liberian fisheries sector’ in exchange of fishermen rubber nets and it will not be force on the part of fishermen but will be done voluntarily.
At the same time, during the tour of fishing communities in Montserrado, Bomi, and Marshall, Margibi Counties Madam Glassco also held fruitful discussions with fish processors (Fishmongers) disclosing of the arrival of FAO assistance fish handling and storage equipment (solar freezers, tables, apron etc) to improve livelihood of women in Fisheries to be distributed soon across fishing communities.
Meanwhile most of the fishing communities visited; the fishermen through their Sea Chiefs expressed delight in the farsightedness of the Director General of NaFAA for leading her team through their communities on float.