The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and the Artisanal Fishermen Association (LAFA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the focus of forming the basis of a future collaboration between the two groups in the context of marine protection and support of sustainable artisanal fisheries in Liberia. The Memorandum of Understanding that was signed on January 12, 2011 in Monrovia reflects EJF’s interest in working with LAFA and other civil society organizations in order to potentially promote the involvement of fishing communities and their representatives in monitoring and reporting illegal and unsustainable fishing operations.
The EJF will build in-country capacity to address fisheries issues; in particular this could be achieved through the provision of equipment and training for LAFA, identified as necessary by EJF and LAFA. It has been clarified that the two groups can work together to identify opportunities to develop pilot projects in target communities.
The Memorandum of Understanding also clarified that a collaborative partnership could support and build the capacity of LAFA in undertaking such advocacy work, including research, production of materials, meetings and events that are deemed essential to accomplish the jointly agreement objectives.
The MOU signed by the President of LAFA, Alfred N. Kawreh and EJF Director, Juliette Williams indicated that the two groups will further engage the Liberian Government and its agencies and international communities in issues linked to sustainable fisheries and the eradication of illegal fishing operations. They said specific interest is expressed in developing both local and trans-boundary collaborations to achieve this.
According to the MOU, the EJF will support efforts to engage the international communities in issues relevant to sustainable fisheries management and marine conservation efforts in Liberia. The MoU also pointed out that the EJF will provide technical support and equipment in support of LAFA’s research and advocacy. The EJF is also expected to ensure an enabling production of visual materials that can be used in-country to raise awareness and inspire support for sheer aims amongst the public and policymakers.
At the same time, the LAFA has ensured sharing on specific issues relating to Liberian fisheries, especially in identifying pilot areas and communities with which collaboration can be developed. LAFA is also expected to help in facilitating information-gathering and filming of communities and the issues of concern.
In the MOU, the LAFA will support efforts to engage the Liberian government at the highest political level and also carry out research, education and create awareness and advocacy in ensuring success of the programs. In another development, the president of LAFA, Alfred N. Kawreh, has commended the Ministry of Agriculture for the final copy of the new regulation of the Fisheries industry that was released recently.
Mr. Kawreh has also assured the Ministry that his association will abide by the rules and policy guidelines of the new regulations, and that they will assist in the process by creating awareness to educate the fishing communities on the new regulations.