MONROVIA: President George Manneh Weah has fulfilled a promise to fishermen across coastal communities of Liberia by donating life-jackets to ensure their safety at sea.
In October 2021 at the official launch of Japanese donated YAMAHA engines to the Liberian government through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) in the port city of Buchanan, President Weah, responding to request by fisher folks gracing the event, promised to provide life-jackets.
“The donation of the life-jackets is in fulfilment of the President’s promise to the fishermen,” Mr. Augustine M. Manoballah, Deputy Director-General for Administration at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture (NaFAA) informed local media on Friday, March 11, 2022, when the jackets were being offloaded from two 40-foot containers at the fisheries authority’s technical office at the Mesurado Pier on Bushrod Island.
“And so, when the outboard machines were being launched in Buchanan, the fisher-folks also raised this concern with His Excellency, that we appreciate the engines, but we also plead with you that we need to be safe when we go fishing. And the president has answered the call of his people,” Manoballah stressed.
Deputy-Director General Monoballah said the fishermen had repeatedly spoken on the need for them to be issued life-jackets to ensure their safety while at sea.
“When we took over the fisheries sector, one of the concerns the fisher-folks raised was the issue of safety at sea. Many at times when these people go fishing, they encounter problem at sea, and it becomes difficult to rescue them because they have no protective gear”.
According to Mr. Manoballah, President Weah is concerned about the safety of fishermen while in search of livelihood, as such, he has directed everyone should use safety gear to prevent any loss of life at sea.
“As a policy, we are going to ensure that all crew members on any canoe or vessel will use life-jackets.
“The president has asked us to do this because he’s concerned about their safety. We’ll reach a time where no one will go fishing without life-jacket,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Manoballah has disclosed that NaFAA is working with the World Bank to ensure that monitoring devices are installed on all canoes to further safeguard artisanal fisher-folks.
“And so, in furtherance to this, we’ve also moved to work with our partner – the World Bank – to ensure that we have monitoring devices on all canoes to further ensure our people are safe at sea.
The life jackets are expected to be distributed among fisher-folks in the soonest possible time.