Small scale fishing is a source of income for more than 17,000 inhabitants along the Atlantic coast of Liberia. Most of these fishermen lack formal education but make use of fishing skills passed on from previous generations.
Liberian small scale farmers have a reason to smile after the Japanese government signed a fisheries grant with the Government of Liberia for the supply of 400 Yamaha outboard motors, a move which will boost their earnings and increase the country’s animal protein supply.
Director General National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) Emma Glassco says 2000 of 33,000 small-scale fishermen will benefit from the Japanese government initiative.
During the signing of the grant that took place on Monday in the Foreign Ministry of Liberia, Emma stated that NaFAA will deliver the motors to fishermen that have registered licenses.
Despite providing the majority of the domestic fish supply, Small scale fishing has grossly been underestimated. Over 80 percent of the population relies on fish for animal protein.
The support by the Japanese government will come as a sigh of relief for the fishing sector which has not had governmnet policies for decades. The backing will help improve the livelihoods of fishers and bring overall gains to the country.
Emma reiterated the importance of small-scale fisheries sector’s to boosting the national economy, she said the sector “contributes to the livelihood of tens of thousands more.”
She further noted that small-scale fishermen use traditional fishing methods that normally limit them adding that the outboard motors will boost their catch level.
Despite the numerous challenges these small scale farmers face, the director General NaFAA noted that they have remained the main producers of seafood products consumed locally.
For the longest time, the majority of Liberian artisanal fisheries have used labor-intensive, paddle-operated canoes, the outboard motors will come more efficient for these small-scale fishermen.
“Our catch has been decreasing and it is something that is not good for all of us; especially with food security. With the outboard motors, I am sure that we will have an increase in catch which will result in more local-caught fish on the market,” Jerry Blamo, president of the Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association (LAFA) said.
The Japan government is also looking at a proposal by the Liberian government for the establishment of a modernized Fishing Port that will help lessen post-harvest losses.
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