“I Will Make Liberia A Fishing Nation,” Says NaFAA Boss

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Turning the wheels of Liberia’s National Fishery sector, which has been dormant for years and not contributing to government revenue greatly, one visionary Liberian entrusted to run the affairs is making giant steps.

Mrs. Emma Glassco, since taking over the affairs of the entity entrusted to her by Liberian President George M. Weah, has been lobbying government and development partners to pump more cash into the sector and revisit some fishery policies.

Mrs. Glassco, beaming with smile at the signing ceremony to kick start a $3.7 million USD agreement for the fishery sector activities with development partners, said the gains made so far under her leadership will produce surplus result and boost the country’s image, create jobs , generate revenue amongst others.

Leaping into the initial $3.7 million USD agreement signed between the Word Bank and the Liberian Government, Tuesday in Monrovia, Liberia, Mrs. Glassco said, the purpose of the World Bank project is for the rehabilitation and expansion of the Mesurado Fishing Port into an industrialized modern fishing port with a processing facility and the construction of landing jetties in coastal counties .

“This is a big achievement for this government, at least we are able to have our own fishing port like other countries in the sub region.” She said.

Providing more historical highlights about Liberian’s fishery sector, Mrs. Glassco said, Liberia was a major exporter of shrimps to Japan and the United States, enabling Liberia to generate about USD $40million in revenue .

She said the signed agreement will afford Liberia get back to where it was in the 70’s. “We lose a lot of revenue , most of our industrial vessels operating in high seas only pay for fishing license but they don’t land their catches here.”

The fishery boss stated that the agreement will afford fishing vessels opportunity to land in the country and sell forty percent of their catches on the country’s domestic market once all policies are put into place and landing areas modernized.

Mrs. Glassco made it clear that because Liberia has not met international standards or given a yellow card from Europe and other countries, the country is losing huge revenue as all of its industrial tuna vessels are landing in fishing ports within the sub-region, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone amongst others.

She said, exports from Liberia have to pass through secondary country which enable these countries to benefit from export fees, leaving out Liberia where the product originated from.

The National Fishery sector according to Mrs. Glassco, will shortly commence the construction of landing jetties across the country aimed at removing fisherman from landing on random beaches . “Our fishermen will no longer land on the beaches, they will have a designated landing site, at this landing site they will have ice machines so they carry ice on their boat to go and fishing. They will have cold storage , they will have fresh fish market, have a dry dump area so this is a whole new vision for a fishing sector that has been dormant and overlooked and seen as an under performing sector.”

She thanked Finance Minister for seeing the fishery sector as a priority and convenience government that the sector has potential to contribute to the Liberian government returns.

Mrs. Glassco also disclosed that the a delegation from the EU will arrive in the country next week to work with the national fishery and other partners aimed at lifting the standards of the country’s fishery policies, stressing that the process is very important because it will attract more investment in the country’s fishery sector.

“We need the European Union market, so lifting the yellow card is very, very crucial for us so that it can attract more and more substantial investment in our fishery sector and it will no more be looked at as the underperforming sector. If we don’t have a yellow card we can not transport, or export to any EU Market and looking at the accessibility, EU is closer to Africa than Asia , so we need the EU market, she concluded.

The US$3.7 million from the World Bank is the first portion for the Project Preparatory Advance that sets the stage for Liberia to get all the ground work done for the bigger project of US$40 million project approved by the World Bank to rehabilitate and expand the Mesurado Fishing Pier into an industrialized modern fishing port with a processing facility which, according to her will add value components.

In February 2019 Liberia signed a partnership agreement with the Government of Iceland to establish and equip national fisheries competent laboratory to meet international standard for the certification and testing of fish product both for imports and exports. The setting up of the Competent Laboratory would allow Liberia to gain accreditation from the European Union, the United States, Japan amongst others.