Seaweeds Threaten Fish Economy

By: Precious Gaye

It seems that marine plants and algae are causing hindrance to the livelihood of local fishermen in Monrovia.

Though it could be medicinal, countless species of “seaweeds” growing in oceans, rivers, lakes and other water bodies destroy fishing nets of local fishermen especially at the Popo Beach in Point Four and have expressed with frustration of being neglected.

Recently in a chat with the Inquirer, the Chairman of the Popo Beach United Fishermen Association (PBUFA) Gabriel Sargbah said, “We started seeing seaweeds since last year; when we go to sea, we do not catch enough because, when the weeds get into the net, at times we lose the net because we cannot bring it to shore.”

Members of the Borough Fishermen United Association (BFUA) which is the union body, feels abandoned by relevant bodies and Gabriel disclosed that one Jeremiah, who works with the BNF, told them that since last year, there have been experts working on the issue and within three weeks they are expected to get back to them.

Speaking in the same manner, another fisherman identified as Morris lamented that whenever they raised their concerns to the Bureau for them to see reason to give them redress, nothing tangible could come out of it.

In a telephone conversation with the Coordinator of the Bureau of National Fisheries, William Boeh, said, “I am not aware about such communication.”

Though he confirmed that one of his staffers called Jeremiah has been away for over a month, he disclosed that based on a study done last year by a researcher identified as Patrick Sayon, who now works with the World Bank in Monrovia, findings show that the huge visibility of ‘seaweeds’ within the West African sea belt could be linked to climate change though the results were not published.

According to official reports, the Bureau of National Fisheries (BNF) was created by legislation in 1957 under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to regulate fishing activities in Liberian waters.

With small scale fishing providing major source of income, 3.2 million people eat fish because of the nutritional values while nine out of Liberia’s 15 counties lie along 570 km of the Atlantic Ocean.

Currently, fishing accounts for two percent (2%) of the national domestic product and provides jobs for approximately 31,000 people.