MONROVIA-The Government of Liberia, through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Monday, February 6, 2023, signed a Fishery Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government and people of the Republic of Senegal through its Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy.
According to a dispatch from Dakar, the MoU is aimed at promoting and facilitating cooperation in fisheries inspection and related activities in the fishery industry of Liberia.
It is also meant to ensure effective jurisdiction and control over flagged fishing and related ships of the Parties with respect to their national laws and regulations and international conventions to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
At the same time, the MoU also seeks to serve for the exchange of information on related activities to strengthen fisheries governance.
Making remarks before the signing ceremony in the Senegalese capital Dakar, the Director-General of NaFAA said the signing and implementation of the MoU will further strengthen the efforts that are already being carried out in the sub-region to ensure that the Central Gulf of Guinea is safe and secure.
“For instance, through the PESCAO project, we are implementing a regional Fisheries Monitoring Center hosted in Ghana; there are joint sea patrols being conducted between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana; and there are joint inspections of flagged fishing and fishing related vessel calling into our ports,” Madam Emma Metieh Glassco noted.
Mrs. Emma Metieh Glassco disclosed that studies have shown that the fisheries resources are under considerable pressure globally and in the West African sub-region, particularly from high levels of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing for which the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) was approved by the FAO Conference at its Thirty-sixth Session on 22nd November 2009.
“Today, we are here to take action and strengthen our collaborative roles in tackling this IUU menace by adopting stronger positive actions that have been implemented among other regional countries”.
Mrs. Glassco indicated that the objective of the MoU is to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing through the implementation of effective port State measures, thereby ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.
She said the MOU is a tool for both countries to effectively implement the PSMA, and their respective national laws, regulations, and relevant conventions to which both countries are parties in respect of harmonizing inspectorate regime, joint inspection exercises of fishing and fishing-related vessels, exchange of information on monitoring, control, and surveillance, the designation of each country seaports, and the usage of ports.
The Liberian Fisheries Director General mentioned that Senegal has one of the biggest fishing economies in Africa and Liberia has a lot to learn from the years of experience of Senegalese Fisheries Experts as such it was on this background that this agreement came to be.
Moreover, Madam Glassco is proposing a review of the implementation of the 2019 Agreement and its appending Protocol through the constitution of a Joint Committee to make possible amendments where necessary.
She noted that over the years illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been described by the international community as one of the most severe problems affecting world fisheries and the main obstacle to achieving sustainable fisheries globally. It is reported that West Africa lost over 3.3 billion United States dollars in revenue to IUU fishing. This amount could provide better living conditions
Speaking for the government and people of Senegal, the Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, Hon. Pape Sagna Mbaye said Senegal is prepared to work with Liberia in enhancing the fisheries programs of their respective countries.
Minister Sagna Mbaye stated that the implementation of the MoU which is geared toward combating illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing will further strengthen the existing relationship among countries of the south region.
The Senegalese Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy commended the Liberian Fisheries delegation for traveling over to Dakar, Senegal for the historic signing ceremony which is aimed at benefiting both countries and the region at large.