…to enhance fight against illegal fishing and related activities
The government of Liberia through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), on Monday, February 6, 2023 signed a Fishery Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Senegal through its Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy.
According to a dispatch from the Dakar, the MoU is aimed at promoting and facilitating cooperation in fisheries inspection and related activities 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 is also intended to serve in the exchange of information on related activities to strengthen fisheries governance.
Making remarks before the signing ceremony in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, the Director General of NaFAA said signing and implementing the MoU will further strengthen efforts 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 Centre 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 vessels calling into our ports.”
Mrs. Emma Metieh Glassco disclosed that studies have shown 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 MoU’s objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing through the implementation of effective port state measures, and thereby ensure 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 harmonising inspectorate regimes; joint inspection exercises of fishing and fishing-related vessels; exchange of information on monitoring, control and surveillance; the designation of each country’s 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 Senegalese Fisheries Experts’ experience; as such, it was from this background that the agreement came to being.
Moreover, Madam Glassco is proposing a review of the 2019 Agreement implementation 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 loses over US$3.3billion in revenue to IUU fishing annually. This amount could provide better living conditions
Speaking for the government and people of Senegal, Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy Pape Sagna Mbaye said Senegal is prepared to work with Liberia on enhancing the fisheries programmes of their respective countries.
Mr. Sagna Mbaye stated that implementation of the MoU, which is geared toward combatting 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 travelling over to Dakar, Senegal, for the historic signing ceremony aimed at benefitting both countries and the region at large.