15 February 2013

Liberia: Fishery Workshop Ends in Monrovia

Participants at a two-day stakeholders consultation fishery workshop in Monrovia have expressed satisfaction over the relevance of the gathering and quality of the workshop content. The workshop which started February 13th ended yesterday with participants pledging to collaborate against illegal fishing, improve product quality, and share information on how to enhance artisanal fishery.

Ms. Anna Essien, fish monger in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, said the fish mongers were experiencing huge losses due to poor handling of fish by fishermen. "They keep the fish on the high seas until it spoils. They sell it to us. By the time we begin selling, the fish is not good anymore." She lauded the workshop's organizers for the effort "This workshop is giving us lots of knowledge and awareness on how to improve fish before selling and how to work together to make profit."

Mr Andrew Sumo, Head of Artisanal Fishery Section at the Bureau of National Fisheries, expressed optimism that with the diverse exchange of information at the workshop, conditions should improve henceforth. "This workshop has brought together different ideas of different backgrounds to make the project successful. We at the Bureau need more capacity building to enable us cover the coastal counties and support fishermen and fish mongers effectively."

The UN agriculture agency, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Ministry of Agriculture introduced a fishery project in Buchanan to help develop the fishery sector there for reduced losses and better income earnings of fish mongers and fishermen. .Speaking earlier at the opening of the workshop, FAO's Country Representative in Liberia Jean-Alexandre Scaglia intimated that the goal of the fishery project was to improve living standards of fishermen, and improve nutrition status of the local population, especially women and children. The FAO boss added: "Direct target beneficiaries are the fisher-folks of Buchanan, made up of 931 beneficiaries involved with fishing, preservation, processing, storage and marketing who depend on fisheries as their main source of livelihoods. Fisher-folks of the other nine landing sites of Grand Bassa and near counties will benefit from sharing the experience from the pilot demonstrations in Buchanan."

In March last year, FAO and the Government of Liberia introduced a project called "Support to reduced post-harvest losses and improved income of fishers through a product-centered community support fishery model in Grand Bassa County".

The aim of the workshop was to review and provide inputs to a Technical Cooperation Project's work plan in line with project framework outputs, outcomes, and current ongoing activities opens in Monrovia tomorrow.

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