ACCRA, GHANA -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, Monday, November 7, 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in combating illegal fishing activities.
The purpose of the MoU, according to NaFFA’s press statement 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 harmonized inspectorate regime; 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 Organization (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 a similar MOU signed on November 2, 2022, between the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire.
The Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority of Liberia, Hon. 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 of Ghana Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson signed on behalf of her government.
Making remarks at the signing ceremonies, Hon. Emma Metieh Glassco recalled the longstanding cordial relations between Ghana and Liberia and that the MoU further strengthens that already mutually beneficial relationship. She emphasized that IUU fishing is one of the most severe problems affecting world fisheries and the main obstacle to 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. Concluding her remarks, she suggested the need to use the MoU as the first step to strengthening collaboration as member states of ECOWAS and developing programs for joint actions in the fight against IUU.
For her part, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development of Ghana, Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson recalled the longstanding 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. Hon. 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 Hon. Moses Anim, witnessed the program.
In the coming months, the Liberia Maritime Authority and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority will operationalize the MOU for the benefit of both countries.