President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted to the Liberian Senate for enactment a Bill titled: An Act to Amend Title 23, Natural Resources Law, Liberian Code Revised by Repealing Subchapter B, Fish Resources and to amend title 30, Public Authorities Law to create the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority.
The Bureau of Fisheries has been under the Ministry of Agriculture, until it was recently transferred to the Liberia Maritime Authority under an Executive Order.
In her communication dated June 24, 2017, President Sirleaf noted the object of the Act is to ensure the long-term management, conservation, development and sustainable use of the fisheries and aquaculture resources and related ecosystems for the benefit of the people.
“As you are aware, the Fisheries and aquaculture sectors have the potential to make an enduring and significant contribution to the development, economy and wellbeing of the nation. However, there have been challenges in harnessing the resources associated with these sectors,” President Sirleaf noted.
President Sirleaf expounded on the existence of need to establish an appropriate framework for the formulation of policy and the transparent and accountable management of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
This Act, President Sirleaf noted, “will address the ongoing need to comprehensively regulate and control fishing and related activities within the areas under national jurisdiction to illegal fishing and related activities. It will also enforce applicable conservation and management measures within and beyond the Fisheries Waters in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Liberia and its obligations under regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements and international law.”
When passed into law, President Sirleaf assured it will facilitate the management and development of the fisheries and aquaculture resources for the benefit of the Liberian people, “most especially those communities whose livelihood depend on these resources.”
Immediately after the communication was read, a motion was proffered to send it to the relevant committees with the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as lead committee.