Normal Fishing At Standstill In Cape Mount Over New License Fees

Normal fishing activities have come to a temporary halt in Grand Cape Mount County following a row over increase in fishing license fees.
There has been disagreement between fishermen and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) over the increase of fishing license fees, resulting to a halt in normal fishing activities for the past three weeks in the county.Earlier this year, NaFAA released the new fees structure for fishermen operating in
Liberia.
According to the new fees, owners of paddling canoes will pay the sum of L$3,200 annually as license fee, while operators of one to 14 horse power (HP) canoes will pay a yearly fee of US$200.

The fee for 15 to 40hp fees has been increased from L$10,000 to US$475.

The new structure further states that those operating between 40 to 100Hp will now pay US$1,000 annually; while operators of migrant or seasonal canoes are to pay US$1,250 yearly.

Since the new fees took effect in early January, there have been calls from owners of paddling canoes and canoes using HP engines for reduction in the license fees, a call that has been resisted by the NaFAA.

Under the new NaFAA regulation, no paddling canoes and canoes with HP engine will be allowed to fish if they are not fully licensed.

This has caused fishermen at the Robertsport Fishing Land Cluster, the county’s largest fishing base, and other fishing areas in Grand Cape Mount to stop fishing in the county.

The halt in fishing activities in the county has caused several fish sellers to go out of business, with many expressing frustration over this development.

“Since I have known myself only this fish business I have been doing,” a local fish seller, Bendu Gray, said.

“I dry my fish and go to other towns and sell it. This is what has been helping me and my family,” she added.

When contacted, authorities at the Robertsport Fish Landing Cluster declined to give details about the temporary halt, but said the National Association of Fishermen has scheduled a meeting in Monrovia to address the problem.

They added that following the meeting they will brief the press about the outcome and next move by local fishermen.

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