Fishing activities

EJF and NAFaa seek to intervene in media to combat illegal fishing activities


As part of an effort to support the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) in reporting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activities in Liberia, the Environmental Justice Foundation ( EJF), with funding from the European Union (EU), organized a one-day capacity building workshop for at least ten journalists in Monrovia.

The training also aimed to solicit the intervention of the media to understand how to report on the fight against illegal fishing activities and raise gender issues in the fishing sector.

The one-day event, which took place on September 28, 2021, was initiated by NaFAA in partnership with the EJF and brought together journalists from Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa and Margibi counties.

The workshop also aimed to deepen journalists’ understanding of how to amplify issues with a particular focus on women in the fisheries sector in Liberia.

The training was part of EJF’s five-year project, which is in partnership with NaFAA. It also plans to create competent, competent and efficient community co-management associations to guarantee legal and sustainable fishing in the country.

The project, titled “Communities for Fisheries Project”, is implemented by the EJF to help the government of Liberia develop sustainable fisheries management.

Giving an overview of the project, Cephas Asare, Project Manager, EJF, told participants that Liberia’s marine fisheries provide irreplaceable natural resources that play a vital role in the economy. Therefore, journalists play a vital role in telling the stories in the fishing industry, he explained.

He added that the project aims to reduce illegal fishing and improve the sustainability of fishing by expanding and strengthening community co-management associations (CMAs) and creating effective capacity for community monitoring and capacity building of fishermen. artisanal, noting that the EJF will work with communities in four coastal counties: Margibi, Grand Kru, Grand Bassa and Grand Cape Mount.

Mr Asare told a representative sample of participants that the overall objective of the project is to better support the coastal livelihoods and food security of 11,000 direct beneficiaries and 56,000 indirect beneficiaries through improved management and governance of the communities. marine ecosystems and fish stocks in Liberia.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Mr. Asare noted that if the problems of illegal fishing and other illegal activities are to be reduced, this requires the full support of the media.

“The role of the media is very critical in this regard and that is why we have decided to invite you here today to engage,” he added.

According to him, the project will further improve the sustainability of fishing by expanding and strengthening community co-management associations, creating an effective capacity for community surveillance and reporting of illegal fishing.

According to him, this will also support the development of co-management associations in the four project sites to create strong and transparent local governance structures and procedures to report illegal fishing and build the capacity of artisanal fishermen and representative organizations.

It will improve fisheries monitoring and management, create a network where they will share best practices and technical expertise for sustainable and legal fisheries planning and management.

Musu London, Technical Officer for Gender and Community Participation, stressed the importance of understanding gender concepts, the social construction of gender and gender stereotypes in the fisheries sector. She expressed the belief that if journalists understand gender issues, it will favor women in the sector.

Ms. London mentioned that over the years women have been a major force behind the fishery, but have been at a disadvantage for so long because of the position in which society has placed them. She said that despite the vital role women play in the sector, they are yet to be recognized.

Deputy Director General of Technical Service (NaFAA) William Boeh recognized the economic importance of fishing, in terms of job creation and income for the government.
Mr Boeh expressed optimism that over the next five years NaFAA hopes to generate more revenue from the sector.

“We cannot do it alone, we need the support of the media to do it. ”
He further mentioned that the NaFAA ensures that fishermen from all regions of the country pay their license in order to carry out their fish farming activities.
According to Mr. Boeh, IUU fishing affects the global economy by losing US $ 23 billion per year and is one of the worst affected regions in West Africa, which has lost up to 2, US $ 5 billion from 2010 to 2016 in six countries. Liberia lost around US $ 70 million during the period 2010-2016.

However, he did not mention Liberia’s current position since 2016, but pointed out that IUU fishing threatens fisheries resources and marine ecosystems and undermines national and regional efforts to sustainably manage and conserve marine biodiversity.

“IUU fishing seriously affects coastal states and small developing islands that depend heavily on fishing for national economies, employment, people’s livelihoods, food security and the environment.