Monrovia — The National Fisheries and Aquaculture (NaFAA) will today sign a US$3.7 million Project Preparatory Advance (PPA) document from the World Bank towards a national fisheries World Bank Project valued at US$40 million.
The project will see the rehabilitation and expansion of the Mesurado Fishing Port into an Industrialized Modern Fishing Port with a Processing Facility and the construction of landing jetties in coastal counties.
According to the Managing Director of NaFAA, Mrs. Emma Glassco, the signing of the PPA comes after "several diplomatic negotiations back and forth for about two years, including long travels by air, presentation of several documents to serve as justification so as to convince our partners about the socio-economic benefits of the project with a vision to revamp the Fisheries sector as Liberia's natural resource engine for growth."
Liberia has continued to lose huge revenue as all of its industrial tuna vessels (71) land in fishing port within the sub-region such as Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone. Also, all the country's fish product for exports are also routed through these countries.
For months now, the NaFAA has been in discussions with the World Bank for a fisheries project valued at US$21 million. Phase two of that project dubbed, the West Africa Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP) came to an end as a result of the pause on regional project by the bank in December 2018. It has now been increased to US$40 million subsequent to the agreement in July 2019 to continue with as a National Project.
The project titled Sustainable Management of the Fisheries Project aims to sustain the gains of the WARFP in Liberia and develop National capacity to improve the value-added and increase the economic contribution to the fisheries sectors and the restoration of key infrastructure to enhance the sector contribution to the economy.
The new World Bank National Fisheries Project will focus on the rehabilitation and expansion of the Mesurado Fishing Pier to a state-of-the-art Modern Fishing port with onshore processing facilities for value addition, it will also prioritize the establishment of landing jetties targeted in five coastal counties with densely populated fishing communities such as Montserrado, Grand Bassa County, etc. in an effort to reduce to huge Post Harvest loss and supply the domestic market with high quality of fish products which has a fish demand deficit of 33, 000metric tons
Liberia has the longest coastline in West Africa and the government is hoping to improve food security and ensure the livelihoods of the country's 33,000 fisherfolk.
With infrastructure development in the fisheries sector, Liberia will be in a strong position to compete with its next-door neighbor, and gravitate from a regime of only issuance of License for wild marine fisheries to a fully industrialize and commercialized fishing industry which includes huge exports proceeds, signing of fish access agreement through bilateral arrangements such as EU-Liberia or Senegal-Liberia as well as with Private Tuna fishing industry.
To date, Liberia has no site for industrial fishing vessels to unload. This is where the proposed rehabilitation and reclamation of parts of the pier will provide, a jetty for industrial fishing vessels to land and offload and/or transship fish, and (ii) product storage and transport facilities. Mesurado Pier was the site of one of the largest fish export operations in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, but has fallen into disrepair since the conflict. This rehabilitation would provide the country with a key entry point for fish processing and products.