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  • As NaFAA Boss says IUU fishing is one of the most severe problems affecting world fisheries

Accra, Ghana- On Monday, November 7, 2022, the governments of Ghana and Liberia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in combating illegal fishing activities. The MoU was signed by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority of Liberia, the Liberia Maritime Authority, and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development of Ghana.

The purpose of the MOU is to promote and facilitate cooperation in fisheries inspection and related activities. The MOU aims to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by ensuring effective administration and control over fishing and fishing-related ships in both countries with respect to their national laws and regulations and international conventions. Under the terms of the MOU, the two countries will collaborate on a harmonized inspectorate regime, joint inspection exercises of fishing and fishing-related vessels, and the exchange of information on monitoring, control, and surveillance.

Article 6 of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stipulates that the parties shall cooperate within the limits of their respective national laws and regulations as well as international conventions to which they are parties. It follows a similar MOU signed between the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire on 2 November 2022.

The Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority of Liberia, Honorable Emma Metieh Glassco, signed on behalf of the Liberian government, while the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency of Ghana, Honorable Mavis Hawa Koomson, signed on behalf of her government.

During her remarks at the signing ceremonies, the Honorable Emma Metieh Glassco recalled the long-standing cordial relations between Ghana and Liberia and stated that the Memorandum of Understanding further strengthens these already mutually beneficial relations. She emphasized that illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is one of the most severe problems affecting global fisheries and the greatest obstacle to achieving globally sustainable fisheries. As stated in the purpose of this MOU, 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 both countries. In her concluding remarks, she emphasized the need to use the MoU as the initial step in strengthening collaboration among ECOWAS member states and developing joint action programs in the fight against IUU.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development of Ghana, the Honorable Mavis Hawa Koomson, recalled the longstanding good relations between Ghana and Liberia and reminded everyone that fishing is a significant contributor to both countries’ GDPs. Minister Koomson, speaking about illegal fishing, discussed the billions of dollars lost annually due to IUU fishing as well as the social and environmental impacts on affected countries and fishing communities. The Honorable Koomson emphasized the importance of Liberia and Ghana cooperating in the areas of closed fishing and fisheries research in order to improve fishery replenishment and fishing outcomes.

In addition to improving fisheries governance between the two countries, the MoU is a milestone in the Liberia Maritime Authority’s and its agent’s efforts to ensure that Liberia’s distant waters fleet is effectively monitored to deter and prevent illegal activities. This is especially true for the monitoring, controlling, and surveillance of reefers, fishing vessels, and fishing-related vessels in the Liberia Shipping Registry in the context of the MOU.

The program was observed by 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 Member of Parliament for Trobu Constituency, Greater Accra Region, Hon. Moses Anim.

In the coming months, the Liberia Maritime Authority and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority will implement the memorandum of understanding to the mutual benefit of both nations.

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