– Liberia’s Fisheries DG; as Liberia and Ghana Sign MoU
The Government of Liberia, through the National Fisheries & Aquaculture Authority in collaboration with the Liberia Maritime Authority, and the Government of Ghana, through its Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, on Monday, November 7, 2022 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in combating illegal fishing activities.
The purpose of the MoU is to promote and facilitate cooperation in fisheries inspection and related activities. The MoU also seeks to ensure effective administration and control over flagged-fishing and fishing-related ships of both countries with respect to their national laws and regulations and international conventions to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Through the framework of the MoU, the two countries will cooperate in the areas of harmonised inspectorate regime; carry out joint inspection exercises of fishing and fishing-related vessels; and exchange of information on monitoring, control and surveillance.
The MoU is in accordance with Article 6 of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which provides that the Parties shall cooperate within the bounds of their respective national laws and regulations as well as relevant international conventions to which they are parties. It follows similar MoU signed on November 2, 2022 between the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Côte D’Ivoire.
The Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority of Liberia, Emma Metieh Glassco, signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia, and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency, Mavis Hawa Koomson, signed on behalf of the Government of Ghana.
Making remarks at the signing ceremony, Emma Metieh Glassco recalled the long-standing cordial relations between Ghana and Liberia, indicating that the MoU further strengthens that already mutually beneficial relations.
She emphasised that IUU fishing is one of the most severe problems affecting world fisheries and the main obstacle in achieving sustainable fisheries globally. The NaFAA DG also disclosed that the MoU will promote and facilitate cooperation in fisheries inspection and related activities to ensure effective administration and control over flagged fishing and fishing-related vessels of the respective countries as stated in the purpose of this MoU.
In concluding her remarks, she suggested the need to use the MoU as the first step in strengthening collaboration as member-states of ECOWAS, and a develop programme for joint actions in the fight against IUU.
For her part, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development of Ghana, Mavis Hawa Koomson, recalled the long-standing good relations between Ghana and Liberia, and reminded everyone that fishing contributes significantly to the GDPs of Ghana and Liberia.
Speaking about illegal fishing, Minister Koomson spoke about the billions of dollars that are lost through IUU fishing annually, and the social and environmental impacts on affected countries and fishing communities.
Mrs. Koomson stressed the need for Liberia and Ghana to cooperate in the areas of closed fishing and fishery research for better fishery replenishment and fishing outcome.
In addition to improving fisheries governance between the two countries, the MoU is also a milestone in the efforts by the Liberia Maritime Authority and its agent to ensure that Liberia’s distant waters fleet is effectively monitored to deter and prevent illegal activities. In the context of the MoU, this is particularly true for the monitoring, controlling and surveillance activities of reefers, fishing vessels and fishing-related vessels in the Liberia Shipping Registry.
The Senior Deputy Commissioner for Maritime Affairs of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Cllr. Margaret Ansumana, and the Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and MP for Trobu Constituency, Greater Accra Region of Ghana, Moses Anim, witnessed the programme.
In the coming months, the Liberia Maritime Authority and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority will operationalise the MoU for the benefits of both countries.