The government of Liberia has pledged to end illegal fishing in the country’s territorial waters by ratifying international fisheries agreements, following a two-day regional fisheries technical conference held in Monrovia.
Illegal fishing remained a serious problem not only for Liberia, but also for other countries in the sub-region.
Speaking on Wednesday September 22, 2021 following the fisheries meeting, National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) Director General Emma Metieh Glassco said government departments and agencies implementation of Liberia have decided to strengthen their collaboration to achieve the ratification by the government of Convention C188 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on work in fishing and the IMO Cape Town Agreement for the safety of fishing vessels.
Ms. Glassco reiterated Liberia’s commitment to the effective implementation of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement through continued work to align legal, institutional and operational frameworks with requirements of the agreement.
Ms. Glassco also mentioned that Liberia is committed to adopting a coordinated approach to the implementation of port controls, including collaboration and information exchange between all relevant agencies and administrations.
She explained that this would be made possible through the creation of a dedicated working group to ensure that ports represent an effective front in the fight against IUU fishing, while helping to improve safety and health in the fishing industry. fishing and working conditions on board fishing vessels.
In the meantime, the National Patron of Fisheries has declared the intention of her institution to prevent, discourage and eliminate IUU fishing by adopting appropriate measures and taking coercive measures at the national level, in accordance with the provisions of various instruments. that would encourage Member States to take effective coordinated action. and ratify the implementation of the three treaties to strengthen regional cooperation.
The Liberian fisheries expert took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the facilitators and speakers for the exchange of good practices or expert knowledge experiences provided to participants who can help end the fishery illegal in the country.
Also speaking, Secretary General of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) Fisheries Committee Seraphin DEDI said that the problems and challenges that migratory fish create in the region are multisectoral and transboundary in nature and therefore require concerted efforts by all stakeholders in the sub-region to deal with it.
According to him, the West African region has a high incidence of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and its associated illicit drug trade.
“Foreign vessels not only poach our fish, but also use our waters as transit routes for their hard drug trade, slavery and human abuse,” he said.
He said that the FCWC is created to bring together member states, join efforts with partners to actively participate in the sustainable management of fisheries in the region with key action in the fight against IUU fishing and related crimes.
“This workshop aims to inform participants about international instruments that strengthen maritime governance at regional and national levels,” he said.
He made specific reference to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Discourage and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unreported Fishing. regulated (the Port State Measures Agreement, or PSMA) and the Cape Town Agreement of the International Maritime Organization (CTA)).
According to him, these international instruments, as well as the Work in Fishing Convention of the International Labor Organization, No. 188 (C188), all include requirements for port inspections and their harmonized application that ensure that ports represent an effective front in the fight against IUU fishing, to improve safety and health in the fishing sector and working conditions on board fishing vessels.
“Knowing that in most states, the responsibility for the implementation of the various instruments is divided among several agencies which may include the ministries of Agriculture, Maritime, Transport and Labor.
Mr. Dedi added that there is a need for customs, navy and coast guard for harmonized port state control and effective interagency cooperation.
In the meantime, he took the opportunity to urge participants to remain committed to tackling the common challenges of the fishing industry.
“It is my fervent hope and expectation that at the end of this session we will come out with a strong Liberian declaration to ratify the CTA and the C188, as well as agree on the steps to be taken to achieve this goal. “, he concluded.
The two-day fisheries workshop was organized jointly with the Fisheries Committee for the West-Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and NaFAA, and brought together government fisheries, marine and environment agencies , as well as regional and international partners. The workshop began on Tuesday September 21, 2021 at a resort in Monrovia.