Monrovia — The long-publicized commissioning ceremony of the Moroccan research vessel to conduct scientific fish stock assessment on Liberian waters has taken place at the Bong Mines Pier near the freeport of Monrovia on Bushrod Island with huge attendance from local and international guests.
The ceremony was well attended by several international fisheries technicians from Morocco, Guinea and Ivory Coast. The World Bank, the European Union, and FAO Representatives among others were in attendance also.
Addressing Fisheries Ministers and Technicians from Ivory Coast, Guinea, Morocco and other parts of Africa, the Director General of NaFAA stated the significant role data collection plays in the development of the fisheries sector.
Madam Emma Metieh Glassco highlighted the fact that data is a key tool to fisheries management, noting that it plays significant role in determining the best fisheries management approach to apply.
“data is a key tool to fisheries management. It is significant in determining the best fisheries management approach to apply”.
Hon. Glassco disclosed that in the absence of basic data over the years, the government of Liberia through NaFAA applied the precautionary approach in managing the country’s fish resources, to avoid over fishing.
At the same time madam Glassco also highlighted the fact that the lack of scientific data has undermined the performance of Liberia’s fisheries sector over the years as it’s a critical factor in informing management decisions and attracting potential investment especially from the private sector.
She described the conduct of the ongoing stock assessment which started Friday 26, January 2024, in Grand Cape Mount to be concluded in Maryland county within the period of two weeks, as timely as Liberia seeks to industrialize its fisheries sector to provide socio-economic growth to its populations like other African countries.
Disclosing the impact, the absence of basic scientific data has over the years had on Liberia’s fisheries sector, the Liberian Fisheries Director General indicated that the gap limited the country’s ability to engage into full industrial fishing.
“This gap has limited our ability to engage into full industrial fishing. As we kick off this exercise today, I believe that we are a step away from going into full scale commercialization, depending on the reports from research”.
Explaining more about the process of stock assessment, she pointed out that ‘it is basically an activity which seeks to collect information on the abundance and distribution of various kinds of fish species within a body of waters in terms of its commercial value and ecological importance.’
“This Fish Stock assessment exercise is basically an activity which seeks to collect information on the abundance and distribution of various kinds of fish species within our waters in terms of its commercial value and ecological importance.”
Moreover, Madam Glassco also described the commissioning and subsequent commencement of the fish stock assessment as a major achievement of a milestone as Liberia endeavor to collect the requisite data of marine resources and ensure the sustainable management of these valuable resources.
“our efforts are to guarantee that everything counts including the taxonomy of the fish stock, the breeding ground, the biomass, habitat and distribution of the stocks across our coast line.”
At the same, during ceremony, the Speaker of the 55th Legislature described the Liberian fisheries sector as a continuing and positive part of the economy.
Officially launching and commissioning the Moroccan state of the art research vessel, Speaker Fonati Kofa noted that transitioning from artisanal fishing to industrialized and commercial fishing will economically benefit Liberia.
Speaker Kofi indicated that being able to take stock scientifically of what is contained in Liberia’s territorial waters and produce data to ensure the management of the resources is indeed a step forward for Liberia.
Speaker Kofi officially cut the ribbon to the state-of-the-art research vessel owned by the government of the Kingdom of Morocco. The vessel was officially commissioned to conduct 14 days stock assessment across the nine coastal counties beginning with Grand Cape Mount on Friday January 26, 2024.
Meanwhile, also making remarks during the commissioning ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, rural development, water and forest of Morocco disclosed that the King of the Kingdom of Morocco has call for the development of integrated maritime economy to an extensive prospecting of off shore nature resources.
Minister Mohammed SADIKI said this integrated economy must be based on continual investment in the maritime fishing sector, as encouragement to the blue economy.
Additionally, on Saturday January 27, 2024, a day following the launching and commissioning of the Moroccan research vessel, the three fisheries ministers from Morocco, Guinea and Ivory Coast and entourage were led on a tour by Madam Emma Metieh Glassco on Popo beach fishing community and NaFAA’s technical and administrative offices.