Artisanal Fisheries are a key sector of marine capture fisheries in Liberia, providing food and livelihoods to coastal communities throughout the country. Recent surveys indicate that there are approximately 3300 canoes and more than 11,000 fishers operating actively from 114 fish landing sites along the 579-kilometer coastline.The artisanal fleet comprises the indigenous Kru canoe (1–3 person crew), operated by Kru fishermen using paddles or sail. These are small dugout canoes up to about 7 m, deploying mainly hooks, long lines and gillnets which target barracudas, croakers, grunters, grappers and also target crabs and lobsters.Fanti canoes are larger (12–15 m), built with planks and powered by 15–40 hp engines; they operate with a crew of up to 15. Their gears are ring and purse nets used for small pelagic species, with larger gillnets specifically adapted for different species and seasons. While some Fanti canoes are permanently based in Liberia, others migrate along the coast from countries such as Ghana. Similar canoes migrate down from northern West Africa, some coming from as far as Senegal.
DISTRIBUTION OF ARTISANAL FISHING UNITS AMONG COUNTIES
Artisanal Fisheries are governed as a section of the Marine Division of the Bureau of National Fisheries (BNF), headed by a Sectional Head. Major activities include registration of artisanal fishing canoes, inspection of fishing canoe and fishing gears, granting of fishing license to fishermen, record of catch data, deployment of fisheries enumerators at landing sites along the nine coastal counties of Liberia as well as providing technical support to local fishermen and fishing communities, inter alia. Governance is done in close collaboration with local fisheries stakeholders, such as Co-Managment Associations(CMAs), the Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association (LAFA), the Seamen Workers Union, and other interest groups.
Regulations Relating to Fisheries of Liberia
Co-Managment Associations are being established in Liberia as a way of governing artisanal fisheries. Collaborative management or co-management is a partnership arrangement in which the community of local resource users (fishers), government, other stakeholders (boat owners, fish traders, boat builders, business people, etc.) and external agents (non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic and research institutions) share the responsibility and authority for the management of the fishery.
There is no blueprint or model for co-management but rather a variety of arrangements from which to choose to suit a specific context. Co-management should be viewed not as a single strategy to solve all problems of fisheries management, but rather as a process of resource management, maturing, adjusting and adapting to changing conditions over time
The first Co-Management Association has been established in Robertsport Grand Capemount County and the legislative framework for the establishment of Co-Management in Liberia was adopted in December 2011.
Co_management workshop report
Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association
The Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association (LAFA), Inc., was established in December 2009 as a national umbrella of all fishing association representing the interest ofishing communities in the nine (9) coastal counties of Liberia with over thirty-three thousand (33,000) fisher folks, and a total of one hundred and forteen (114) fishing communities along the coast of Liberia. LAFA’s activities cover wide areas which include fishing, fish processing and preservation, fish trade and marketing.