On Monday, November 7, 2022, in Accra, Ghana, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for cooperation in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities between Ghana and Liberia.
The MoU was signed by the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority of Liberia (NaFAA), Mrs. Emma Metieh Glassco, representing Liberia and the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency of Ghana, Honorable Mavis Hawa Koomson, representing Ghana.
The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding is to promote and facilitate cooperation in fisheries inspection and related activities, and to ensure effective administration and control of vessels flying the flags of both countries and vessels related to fisheries, in compliance with their national laws and regulations and international conventions aimed at preventing, deterring and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mrs. Emma Metieh Glassco recalled the long-standing cordial relations between Ghana and Liberia and that the MoU further strengthens these already mutually beneficial relations. She stressed that IUU fishing is one of the most serious problems affecting global fisheries and the main obstacle to achieving sustainable fisheries at the global level. Mme Glassco also revealed that the MoU will promote and facilitate cooperation in fisheries inspection and related activities to ensure effective administration and control of fishing vessels and related vessels flying the flags of the respective countries, as stated in the objective of this MoU.
In concluding her remarks, she suggested the need to use the MoU as the first step to strengthen collaboration as ECOWAS Member States and develop a program of joint actions in the fight against IUU fishing.
For her part, the Ghanaian Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, recalled the good relations that have existed for a long time between Ghana and Liberia and recalled that fisheries contribute significantly to the GDP of Ghana and Liberia. On the subject of illegal fishing, Minister Koomson referred to the billions of dollars that are lost every year to IUU fishing and the social and environmental impacts on the affected countries and fishing communities. Mr. Koomson emphasized the need for Liberia and Ghana to cooperate in the areas of fisheries closure and fisheries research to improve stock recovery and fisheries performance.
It should be noted that under the MOU, the two countries will cooperate in the following areas: harmonized inspection regime, joint inspection exercises of fishing vessels and related vessels, and exchange of information on monitoring, control and surveillance.