Liberia To Conduct First Comprehensive Fish Stock Assessment

The Director General of Liberia’s Fisheries sector has revealed that the country’s fisheries industry is on the brink of achieving an industrial-level milestone.

This announcement came as she inaugurated the inaugural comprehensive and independent fish stock assessment on Monday, August 14, 2023, at the Bong Mines Fishing Pier on Bushrod Island, located outside Monrovia. The main objective of this assessment is to lay the groundwork for a management strategy that will guide the fisheries authority in terms of fish resources and the issuance of fishing licenses.

The Director General stated, “This critical phase is now complete, as Liberia has successfully engaged the services of the Oceanographic Research Center of Dakar, Senegal (CRODT), to analyze its coastal pelagic and demersal fish resources.”

This initiative follows a bilateral agreement between Liberia’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) and the Senegalese government. The Senegalese government further arranged with the Guinean government for the utilization of their research vessel, the “RV Lansana Conte,” for a comprehensive fish stock assessment across Liberia.

Speaking before a live media audience at the BMC Pier in front of the “RV Lansana Conte,” Madam Emma Metieh Glassco, emphasized that Liberia’s fisheries sector is poised for significant growth following this comprehensive and independent fish stock assessment, which will notably impact all nine coastal counties. She stated, “This marks a transition from small-scale fisheries to a commercially viable fishing industry.”

Madam Glassco, who indicated that the entire cost of the stock assessment is funded under the World Bank-sponsored ‘Liberia Sustainable Fisheries Management Project’ and exceeds $2 million USD, highlighted that the assessment will unveil the complete potential of Liberia’s Fisheries sector. She also noted that this process will lead to a reduction in fish imports, as Liberian markets will become saturated with domestic fish products.

She commented, “Liberia’s history boasts an abundance of shelf fish. Once a leading seafood exporter to Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world in the 1970s, we possess top-quality shrimp. However, our ability to attract investors is hampered by the lack of scientific evidence to demonstrate the availability and geographical distribution of these species along the continental shelf.”

The Director General, displaying optimism regarding the favorable outcomes of the fish stock assessment, emphasized that the fisheries authority will ascertain the marine resources’ value post-research, which will then contribute to a comprehensive quantification of the ocean’s worth.

Regarding the social implications of the stock assessment, particularly in terms of job creation through foreign investment, the Director General noted that the completion of this assessment across Liberian waters would lead to increased employment opportunities. Furthermore, she underscored the potential for foreign investors to establish canneries and fish mills, similar to those in Dakar and other fisheries-centric nations.

She maintained that the results of the fish stock assessment will position Liberia on par with other fisheries nations in Africa and across the globe. Similarly, Abdoulaye Sarre’, Senior Research Officer/Scientist at the Oceanographic Research Center of Dakar, Senegal (CRODT), expressed satisfaction with their presence after two years of technical preparations for scientific research in Liberian waters. The primary goal of this endeavor is to craft a management strategy to govern the fisheries sector.

Mr. Sarre’, who recounted their successful fish stock assessment experiences in various African countries, reassured that they would deliver the necessary results to aid Liberia’s government in advancing the sector.

Adding remarks at the commissioning event was Shafick Hoossein, World Bank task team leader and senior environmental specialist. He expressed the Bank’s delight in witnessing the vessel’s inauguration for the fish stock assessment, affirming that this World Bank-sponsored fisheries project will significantly impact Liberia’s fisheries sector upon its completion.

 

 

 

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