The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) project coordinating team of the Improved Fisheries Governance in West Africa (PESCAO) program paid a technical visit to Liberia from 17-19th December 2018.
The European Union-funded programme ‘Improved regional fisheries governance in West Africa’- PESCAO is to enhance the contribution of fisheries resources to sustainable development, food security and poverty alleviation in West Africa. The programme will be implemented over a period of 4 years from April 2018- 2021 and involves partners such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission; the European Union Delegation to Ghana (EUD); the FCWC and the Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) member countries; and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).
The main objectives of the visit were to review both the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) technical and human resource capacities; to assess progress made in the adherence to international and regional relevant instruments to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and fisheries crime, including the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA); to follow up on the country’s requirements to join the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation Among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATLAFCO) and to conduct an inventory of the new fisheries related texts.
The objectives of the FCWC/PESCAO coordinating team’s technical visit to Liberia cut across almost all the project results, particularly; Result 1 – Fisheries legal frameworks are harmonized and consistent with international standards to ensure proper fight against IUU fishing; Result 2- Cooperation between countries, administrations and organizations is facilitated; Result 4 - Countries’ and FCWC capacities in operational MCS are strengthened, along with their ability to sustain this in the long-term through enhanced training programmes; and Result 6 - FCWC countries get support in the development of a pool of regional observers.
A meeting with representatives of all agencies involved in the monitoring of fisheries and related activities helped the team to obtain an overview of the status of inter-agency cooperation. The team considered the visit to the Coast Guard and the participation in a port inspection valuable. “This visit really helped us to better understand the new fisheries authority – the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), to get to know the authorities and most importantly the country’s priority needs in planning for next year. We thank the Director-General Hon. Emma Mettieh, the Deputy Director-General of Technical Services Mr. William Boeh as well as the entire personnel of NaFAA for their warm welcome and dedication to make this visit a success,” said FCWC/PESCAO Project Coordinator Ms. Viviane Koutob.
To end the visit, a brief introduction of the country’s Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) was presented by the Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) Manager in order to document and provide necessary information for the training of the personnel in charge of the system as part of the capacity building component of the project.