New fisheries science programs coming to state-run University of Liberia
The University of Liberia (UL) is set to introduce bachelor, associate, and certificate programs in fisheries science, thanks to funding from the World Bank.
Earlier this week, senior officials of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) disclosed that the agency had received 1.2 million from the World Bank to introduce fisheries science programs at the University of Liberia (UL).
At the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University of Liberia and NaFAA yesterday, March 10, the Director-general of NaFAA, Emma Glasco, said that the program also targets fisher-folks from the nine coastal counties.
“We are also targeting our fisher folks to acquire knowledge and skills in fish processing to compete with others in the sub-region. It will have an impact on the economy,”Emma Glasco, Director General, NaFAA
What has been said about Liberia’s fisheries sector?
Fisheries in Liberia contribute about 10% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the sector provides full- or part-time employment for 37,000 people. Small-scale fisheries provide employment for 33,000 people, 60% of whom are women.
Additionally, experts have found that coastal fishing communities were highly vulnerable to poverty. However, the fisheries sector has the potential to contribute to socio-economic development if the state can effectively address barriers – weak institutional capacity, an unfavorable political environment, conflicts with industrial fishing and migrant fishers, and lack of fisheries infrastructure.
What the MoU says?
It required the administration of the University of Liberia to identify five of its dilapidated buildings for use by the program. At the same time, NaFAA is responsible for providing funding for kick-starting the program and renovation of the five buildings.
The MoU was signed between Emma Glassco, DG of NaFAA, and Dr. Julius Sawolo Nelson, President of the University of Liberia.
The program aims to build the capacity of aspiring fishery scientists to manage Liberia’s rich fisheries sector and produce local fisheries scientists to assess and monitor fish and aquatic invertebrate populations to determine the ecological and economic health of the environment as to determine harvest rates of various species. The programs will be run at the university’s Fendell campus in Careysburg, 22.9 miles from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.