LIBERIA: NaFAA provides instant response to Grand Cape Mount fishing community

The washing machine demonstrated to villagers, after handover to the fishing communities

Robertsport-The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, (NaFAA) has responded to the needs of fishermen in Bendu, Lake Piso a fishing community in Grand Cape Mount County following a community consultation in January 2023.

NaFAA team with support from the World Bank funded Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project (LSMFP), donated a new net washing machine to the fisherfolks.

Speaking from NaFAA Headquarters via phone, Director General Emma Metiah Glassco said the donation of the net washing machine provides further proof of how the Authority wishes to support and engage with inshore fishing communities.

“This quick intervention, supporting a fishing community to use sensible nets that are good for fisheries conservation, directly after such a request from them for help”.

Madam Glassco further said that the project is a demonstration for the much wider support the government of Liberia through NaFAA has planned under the World Bank fisheries Project, and comes at the same time with the support of President George Weah, the government has provided lifejackets to safeguard the lives of all fishermen across Liberia.

NaFAA representative D Wisseh Kay, surrounded by CMA officers and local fishermen in Bendu, during the handover ceremony for the net washing machine

“This small project is just one demonstration for the much wider support we have planned under the World Bank Project, and comes at the same time when with the support of HE Excellency the President we have released life jackets to safeguard the lives of our fishermen across Liberia. Our inshore fisheries are the most protected fisheries in West Africa. We at NaFAA are committed to working with our communities and Co-Management Associations to maintain them this way, as they continue to grow sustainably and provide employment and food security to Liberia”.

It can be recalled, as part of a nationwide consultation with fishing communities, to enhance the World Bank funded Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project (LSMFP), staff from NaFAA visited fishing communities in Grand Cape Mount County ascertained at first hand the best support their fishing communities can be given to help maximise the benefits of Liberia’s rich inshore fisheries, for employment, food security, and value export earnings.

The lead Supervisor of the Roberstport Technical Management team at the fishery hub, D. Wisseh Kay, addressing the local fishermen and fishmongers in the community during the handover ceremony and training for a new net washing machine mentioned that NaFAA has been keen to listen and learn from fishing communities, rather than tell them what they need and what is good for them.

Bendu Town Chief Dodde M Graye, signs to accept the net washing machine.

Mr. Kay pointed out that when the team were visiting Bendu, they heard and saw at first hand, the physical work fishermen were involved in when cleaning their nets.

“these nets are good for conservation, they only catch the largest fish and do not cause pollution like plastic nets”.

Supervisor Kaye said NaFAA is keen to encourage their use, and quickly identified that a pressure washing machine could reduce the hard work fishermen are involved in daily and make their nets more useful.

“On behalf of NaFAA I am pleased to be here so soon after the consultation, with proof that the Authority listens to the communities when consulting them, and can act quickly in support of them. We hope that the community will accept the responsibility of managing this cleaning machine responsibly, including provision of fuel and servicing. In due course we can provide additional support with solar power ice and freezing facilities, if the community can demonstrate that it can take responsibility for maintenance and operation.”

Accepting the machine on behalf of the community, Dodde M Graye, Town Chief,  admitted that they were grateful to NaFAA for taking their plight into immediate consideration.

‘We in Bendu can assure NaFAA that we will take every step to look after this machine, to operate it correctly, and service it as needed. Net cleaning is a necessary task for our fishermen after every few days of fishing, and this machine will make their work much easier.”

The local fishermen were immediately provided training on the operation, cleaning and basic servicing of the machinery as well as the machine and water barrel, also provided were spare parts, tools, oil and fuel for the machine.

Following the training, the machine was started up, and in front of the audience from the village, the first dirty net were cleaned rapidly with the machine, taking only a few brief minutes rather than 40 minutes as has been the traditional cleaning with wooden stick.

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