National Working Group Validates Interagency MoU For the implementation of the FAO PSMA

A National Working Group comprising government Ministries and Agencies has validated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the full implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement, PSMA at the end of a three-day technical workshop facilitated by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority and the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC).Β  The MoU will subsequently be submitted to the Ministers and Heads of Agencies for Approval in June 2024.

A NaFAA press release is quoted as saying the β€œpurpose of this interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to strengthen the working relationships between National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, Liberia Maritime Authority, Ministry of National Defence (Liberia Coast Guard), Ministry of Justice, Liberia National Police, LiberiaΒ  Immigration Services, National Port Authority and APM Terminal about exercising effective Port State Measures over Foreign Flag vessels that call into the ports of Liberia.

NaFAA release noted that the objective of the MOU is to strengthen the combined efforts of the agencies to effectively implement national laws and international obligations of Liberia that address illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and fishing-related activities, to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.

Moreover, the release explained that the underlying purpose and objective of the MOU is the recognition by all agencies that, the Port State Measures Agreement provide a powerful and cost-effective means of preventing, deterring, and eliminating IUU fishing and fishing-related Vessels landing at the Monrovia Port.

It noted that vessels involved in IUU fishing and fishing related activities may also be involved in other national or transnational criminal activities; and at the same time the integration of Port State measures into the broader system of port controls at national, regional and international levels is essential to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness in addressing all such activities.

The MOU also establishes a process and framework for notification, consultation and coordination among the agencies in the procedures, actions, and measures to be taken in relation on vessels seeking entry into a port or while in port and requirements for information, inspection, and enforcement.

Accordingly, on the statement of Mutual Benefits and Interests, the MOU added that the benefits of interagency cooperation for PSMA implementation extend beyond the primary objectives of this MOU.

The cooperation will lead to other benefits and synergies including, broader checks and controls of foreign-flagged fishing vessels requesting entry or in Liberian ports, ensuring they have not been involved in any illicit activities including IUU fishing and fisheries-related and associated crimes.

The MOU complements the activities Liberia is already taking to exercise its international obligations as a flag and coastal State to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing across the coastal counties.

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