NaFAA Temporally Bans Production To Protect Aquatic Lives

By Mark N. Mengonfia-

MONROVIA-The National Fisheries & Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has placed a temporal restriction on the production of men-men on Liberian waters.

‘Muen-muen,’ as used in Liberia refers to fermented or processed rotten fish used in local dishes.

The process is done through the use of nets cast within the waters for several days geared towards fermenting the fish.

According to the body that oversees aquaculture in Liberia, the process is a destructive fishing method and it drives fish species away from their locality.

The process according to NaFA, results into fishermen traveling long distances in search of new fishing grounds. The banning of muen-muen or fermented/rotten fish takes effect July 1, 2023.

According to Lewis E.B Konoe, Director of Communications and Media Services at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, the decision was unanimously reached along with fishing chiefs from coastal counties including the Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association, (LAFA) and the Montserrado and Bomi Counties Collaborative Management Association, (CMA) after a three-day strategic meeting held at NaFAA’s technical office on June 14-15, 2023.

The institution said the joint task force, comprising of fishermen and law enforcement officers from the government will ensure full compliance with this mandate.

Stating, “Anyone caught in violation will face the full weight of the law.”

Meun-meun as used refers to processed rotten fish. Its smells gives the consumers the feeling of rich ingredients being used in the food and often, it is used to prepare dry rice on Saturdays or cook in food as a replacer for dry meat or fish.

Some Liberians who spoke to this paper said the people from NaFA are doing their work and it is required of them to do so, but said they will not stop eating of the product as it helps them.

“They are making fun.  This rainy season, your one or two handfuls of potato green leaf or your one cup of split ped bean and drop your little menu-menu into it, it makes your day” Terresa Logan, a lady who sells petite merchandise remarked.

Sarrah Peters also said, “What the government did not do when they said no dry meat was going to be on the market? We will still eat our menu menu.”

History of NaFA

The institution was created by an Act of Legislation on October 9, 2017.

It functions as a fully-fledged autonomous body pursuant to the Public Authorities Law of the Republic of Liberia. NaFAA has its roots in the erstwhile Bureau of National Fisheries, which operated as a unit within the department of technical services of the Ministry of Agriculture from 1956 to 2017.

In order to facilitate the attainment of the overarching vision of the sector, government as essential operational actions, will promote an improved institutional and legislative framework for fisheries management; adaptive research; community and stakeholder participation in capture and culture-based fisheries management and development; effective international, regional, sub-regional and bilateral cooperation for fisheries management; enhanced monitoring, control, and surveillance capabilities; and improve fish quality and value addition technologies for enhanced economic returns in fisheries.

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