The Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Madam Emma Metieh Glassco, has warned trawlers involved into Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing activities in the territorial waters of Liberia to desist or risk punishment.
Madam Glassco said she won’t hesitate to institute punishment consistent with the Fisheries laws of Liberia for violations, while adding that she’s not prepared to compromise the interest of artisanal and semi-industrial fisher folks to the advantage of industrial vessels.
“The government will ensure that the six-nautical miles is still reserved for our fishermen. It is your right to ensure that this zone is protected”.
“We will not compromise. I can assure you. And I don’t want you to compromise either. There are times you will catch them and they would want to bribe you. Stand up for your rights”. We’re not visible on the Ocean. You’re always there”.
In 2010, the government established the six-nautical mile limit, a fishing zone reserved only for subsistence or artisanal and semi-industrial fishing activities, but it is reported that trawlers are intruding.
The NaFAA boss spoke on Thursday October 28, 2021 in Monrovia when she joined the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) to formally launch what is known as the ‘DASE’ mobile application.
This technology allows small-scale fishers to gather evidence against industrial vessels illegally fishing in Liberian waters. It provides a simple, user-friendly program that helps fishing communities rid their waters of illegal vessels that threaten their livelihoods.
Speaking further, Director General Glassco called on the Environmental Justice Foundation an International nongovernmental organization, (EJF) step up their support to the program and ensure that rural fishers without smart phones are provided the appropriate gadget that will enable them use the app.
The app is a component of EJF’s project named and styled ‘Communities for Fisheries project’.
According to Madam Glassco, the initiative is a four-year project implemented by EJF in partnership with NaFAA and is funded by the European Union under the EU-Liberia Agriculture Program.
“It seeks to empower communities to co-manage fisheries and reduce illegal fishing, in part by strengthening and supporting the formation of Collaborative Management Associations (CMAs)”.
The fisheries management body boss said enhanced community participation will help to build lasting sustainability and social equity in the fisheries sector, as well as safeguard food security and coastal livelihoods across the country.
She adds: “The project would build on the significant gains made by NaFAA in sustainably managing the fisheries resources of Liberia through the reduction of illegal fishing activities and creating Collaborative management association to ensure community level participation in fisheries management”.