By: R. JoyclynWea
MONROVIA0The Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor has pledged half a million United States dollars as the government’s initial contribution and support to the University of Liberia to kick-start its Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences Department.
Serving as the Chief Launcher of a new BSc program in fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences at the College of Science and Technology, Madam Taylor wants the program not to only focus on males, but also females should be highly encouraged.
The Liberian Vice President encourages females to be a part of this program as it will help sustain the family. She tasks Dr. Nelson with the responsibility to encourage female students.
According to Madam Taylor, the funds will retain and encourage people interested in earning a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture.
At the same time, the World Bank has approved 1.5 million United States Dollars as initial support to the program under the Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project.
The Director-General of the National Fishery and Aqua-Culure Authority, (NaFAA) Emma Metieh Glassco thanked and lauded the World Bank Group for the support they have provided and continue to provide for the development of the Liberia Fisheries sector.
She had assured the World Bank of NaFAA’s commitment to ensure that the requisite resources provided to support the program are utilized appropriately.
Giving the overview of the launch, Madam Glassco disclosed that World Bank, West African Regional Fisheries Project, agreed to finance the preparation of a Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture Science Curriculum for the University of Liberia in partnership with the University of Iceland, to address this gap.
According to Madam Glassco, her team embarked on a stronger partnership with the University of Liberia to ensure that the objective is achieved.
“The Fisheries and Aquaculture Science Curriculum was prepared, presented to, and approved by the Academic Coordination Committee and the Faculty Senate of the UL on May 3, 2022, and May 6, 2022, respectively. In terms of institutional structure, a new Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Science has been created at the University of Liberia,” she narrated.
The program is expected to provide students with an opportunity to obtain an undergraduate degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. It is designed to prepare fisheries professionals with competencies and acquire practical skills in fisheries and aquaculture as well as fish processing and marketing issues.
Director Glassco noted that the overall goal of this program is to build the needed human resource capacity that will support the Liberian government in achieving its sustainable development objectives of national food and nutrition security, resource conservation, and sustainable management of fisheries resources of Liberia, marine and inland ecosystems to provide long-term goods and services to the communities.
“One of the key objectives of the Liberia Sustainable Management for Fisheries Project is the transitioning of Liberia’s fishing industry from small-scale to semi and large-scale industrialization. The World Bank quite recently agreed with us that this transition is essential to economic growth,” she said.
However, she revealed that it was also agreed that in order to provide short-termed hands-on technical pieces of training, research, and scientific interventions in addressing the gaps in the sector, we establish a Regional Centre of Excellence for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Liberia.
The Center will be very key in supporting the transition of the Liberia Fisheries Sector to semi and large-scale industrialization through capacity development, institutional strengthening, innovation, research, extension service, and quality assurance, among others.
It is envisaged that the immediate focus of the center will be providing technical, capacity development, and knowledge support for the efforts that are aimed at industrializing the fishery sector in Liberia and beyond.