The Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Emma Metieh Glassco, has clarified that the Liberia-Senegal Fisheries Partnership Agreement is not intended to mortgage the resources of the country as is being speculated in the public, but to rather increase the local production of fish products on the Liberian market.
Glassco said the agreement will seek to increase fish production as well, which will then lead to the reduction the price of fish on the local market.
Addressing the Ministry of Information regular press briefing in Monrovia on Thursday, Glassco stated that the agreement will also increase captured fish production which will lead to the high demand for modern processing facilities, thereby decreasing post-harvest loss.
According to her, the agreement will further reduce the importation of fish, leading to an increase in the per capita fish consumption.
Glassco indicated that key action under the agreement will see that all 100 artisanal canoes (paddle canoes) will only be permitted to sell their catch on the Liberian local market, adding that all industrial vessels will be licensed under this agreement.
She added that 40 percent of the semi-industrial (200 canoes) catch shall be landed in Liberia and 60 percent exported due to lack of market, thereby increasing Liberia’s trade balance and improved foreign exchange earnings.
Glassco disclosed that the agreement will also lead to immense job creation by employing a total of 708 seamen and fishmongers in the country.
She said that seamen have for a very long time in Liberia been faced with the issue of unemployment because they did not have the basic requirement to be deployed on sea –going vessels.
The NaFAA boss also disclosed that under the leadership of President George M. Weah, the NaFAA conducted training in July 2018 in collaboration with the Regional Maritime Authority for about 50 Liberian seamen to be deployed on those licensed vessels.
As part of the agreement, Glassco noted, the government stands to generate revenue of at least more than 160 percent, which is 16 times higher than the regular fees charged to Liberian artisanal fishermen.
She noted that NaFAA has been underperforming in terms of revenue generation as compared to other countries within the region, saying fisheries contribute about 10 percent to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and less than 3.1 percent to the national budget.