By D. Ignatius Roberts
MONROVIA, Dec 7 (LINA) - The Ministry of Agriculture has warned the Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association(LAFA) to stop using monofilament (plastic nets) in Liberia’s territorial waters to avoid violating national and international fisheries regulations.
The Coordinator of the Bureau of National Fisheries at the Ministry, Mr. William Boeh said the bureau has a statutory mandate to regulate and monitor all fishing activities in Liberia for sustainable management.
Mr. Boeh said the fisheries regulation provides that any person who contravenes the law is liable to a fine not exceeding US$250.000.
Mr. Boeh said the 2010 fisheries regulations of Liberia and international fisheries governing laws direct that no person shall use, permit to be used or attempt to use fishing gear that has not been authorized by a valid applicable license.
Mr. Boeh said that this regulation also forbids anyone from using, permit to be used or attempt to use the method of pair trawling for the purpose of fishing.
The regulation also forbids the use of illegal fishing gears and methods such as use of explosives, firearms, lights or other electrical devices or poison for the purpose of fishing.
Meanwhile, the president of the LAFA, Mr. Alfred Karwleh has appealed to government to grant a one-year extension from January 31,2014 o allow ample time to the fishermen to replace monofilament nets to thread nets which are accepted internationally.
He also appealed LAFA members to exercise restraint, while the executive committee of the association explores ways to amicably handle the matter with government.
During the meeting, Karwleh announced that the African Confederation of Artisanal Fishing Organizations will celebrate its 2014 World Fishing Day Program in Liberia.