The Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) and the Bureau of National Fisheries (BNF) through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) have signed a joint communiqué to inspect and monitor all registered fishing and fishing-related vessels plying the territorial waters of Liberia. The communiqué was signed on Thursday, April 13 in Monrovia.
According to the document, the LMA and the BNF will jointly inspect and monitor all Liberian registered fishing and fishing-related vessels through a long range identification and tracking system, which is meant to enhance better collaboration between the two institutions on how to tackle the inspection and monitoring challenges of fishing vessels.
Dr. James Kollie, LMA Commissioner, told reporters that such collaboration is necessary to ensure effective inspection and monitoring of vessels in the country's territorial waters.
"There are certain vessels that are engaged into fishing activities that are internationally registered under the LMA and flying the Liberian flag. But these particular activities of those vessels are fishing and fishing related, which the MOA has complete authority over.
Consequently, we are setting the basis for joint effort to better collaborate to effectively carry out the exercise," he said.
Kollie dispelled any report of the fishing industry being problematic, citing the signing of the agreement.
He said the signing was an international requirement that ships carrying fishing products must be certified to operate.
"We have an international registry of ships that fly Liberia's flag. When they fly a country's flag under the international rules and are engaged in fishing, then there is another requirement. For a ship to carry fish product, it has to go through certain sanitary inspections that have to be done by experts," Dr. Kollie added.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Moses Zinnah, said that keeping surveillance on the fishing industry will require collaboration to ensure its effectiveness.
"This is aimed at making the two parties efficient," he said.
Minister Zinnah stated that his ministry is actively engaged in the monitoring and inspection of fishing vessels.
He said the signing of the communiqué is to formalize the collaboration of both government ministries.