-- International partners pledge continuous support
The Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority NaFAA, Emma Metieh Glassco, has officially commended the government and people of Wales, the United Kingdom, for donating a fisheries patrol vessel (FPV) which she termed as "being cardinal to combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities across Liberia particularly the Southeastern region of Liberia."
Speaking Friday May 10, 2019 during the dedication and renaming of the "Pride of Wales" by H.E President George Weah to "FPV Lone Star", Director Glassco recalled that for too long Liberia has lost immensely to illegal fishing activities which has had negative impact on the collection of revenue from the fisheries sector.
Madam Glassco stressed that, "now the people of Liberia have received such a timely gift from the government and people of Wales, we stand the chance to reduce IUU activities to enable the CDC led government raise revenue from the fisheries sector".
She added: "Sustainably managing the fisheries resources of Liberia by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority to achieve economic prosperity for Liberians is challenged by multiplicity of issues, including the theft of our fish resources through many forms of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by both local and foreign vessels."
According to a NaFAA release, Madam Glassco said Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing has resulted in significant loss of revenue which would have contributed immensely to wide range of development works across the country.
Madam Glassco assured that arrival of the fisheries patrol vessels from Wales will result in regular patrols by the Liberia Coast Guard across the nine coastal counties of Liberia and lead to increased revenue collection from the fisheries sector. Also, it will reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, particularly in the Southeastern part of Liberia, which includes five of the coastal counties.
Highlighting the cardinal role of the Liberia National Coast Guard in the fight against IUU fishing, she noted that the Coast Guard has and continues to stand in the gap for the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority and their action has resulted in collection of resources from the fisheries sector.
At center: President George M. Weah, flanked by NaFAA director Emma M. Glassco (on left) and British Ambassador David Belgrove , along with other dignitaries at the dedication of the Fisheries patrol vessel donated be the Government and people of Wales.
Also making remarks during vessel dedicatory ceremony, British Ambassador David Belgrove, said: "I am delighted to be here today at this commissioning event of the Fisheries Patrol Vessel, generously donated by the Government and people of Wales to the Government and people of Liberia".
Ambassador Belgrove said Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. Wales has over 2,700 km of coastline. It has its own language, one of the oldest in Europe, and its own devolved administration, which is 20 years old this week.
Ambassador Belgrove disclosed that "This donation is made as part of the 'Wales for Africa' programme, a Welsh Government initiative to support and encourage more people in Wales to make an effective contribution to international development and addressing global disasters and emergencies. It reflects Wales' sense of duty as an international citizen and the Welsh Government's legal duties under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act - a ground breaking piece of legislation which commits Wales to helping deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals".
The British Ambassador said the vessel has a vital role to play in the Government of Liberia's plans to protect Liberia's valuable fish stocks, some of the best in the region.
Speaking further, he stated that these fish stocks, if protected from illegal and unscrupulous fishing, can provide a sustainable resource for coastal communities and a much-needed source of protein to Liberia, leading to export revenue in the future. "It is vital that the stocks are protected," he said. "Managed sustainably they can benefit of all Liberians under the Government's Pro-Poor Agenda."
Meanwhile, Ambassador Belgrove commended all of those who made the dedicatory ceremony possible, including colleagues from the World Bank, which provided the shipping costs, and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority.
"I should especially like to thank colleagues in the Welsh Government, who have worked hard behind the scenes for many months to make this donation a reality.
Also speaking during the "FPV Lone Star" dedication ceremony, the officer in charge at the World Bank pledged the Bank's commitment toward the development of the Liberian fisheries sector.
It can be recalled that the World Bank was instrumental negotiating and transporting the fisheries patrol vessel to Liberia.
Sekou Kamara said World Bank remains supportive of combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities across Liberia.