Executive Order Affects Women Fishers In Liberia

By Tete Bropleh

Every Sunday morning, ma Garmai and her teenage granddaughter scramble through a densely polluted area around the New Kru Town beach to check on what they had stashed (hidden) there.

Woman at Soumbedioune fish market. Greenpeace is campaigning in West Africa for the establishment of a sustainable, low impact fisheries policy that takes into account the needs and interests of small-scale fishermen and the local communities that depend on healthy oceans.

“Before, we didn’t have to hide our market, but now people are always along the beach harassing us to stop looking for it (fish),” she added.

Surrounding her were dozens of fishnets and a basket that looked like it was made out of tree twigs and thread, but there were no signs of fish anywhere. Closely monitoring ma Garmai’s movements to see if she needed any assistance was her granddaughter, whom she said “comes with me every morning to check our basket and fish. If nothing is there, we send the basket back and check each one until we can see fish.”

Recently, the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, signed Executive Order 84 to help stimulate the fishing business in Liberia, which translates to stopping those who are illegally fishing in and around Liberia’s ocean property and giving the right of way to those who are registered tax payers.

A report from the Executive Mansion recently stated that the government’s action to restrict fishing to only registered companies, came after ‘the Ministry of Agriculture was unable to control the fishing industry.’

“The decision was put in the hands of Maritime Authority,” stated the report.

Meanwhile, ma Garmai sells smoked fish for a living, which helped her build her house out of US$200 worth of mud bricks, and contributes to her families’ development, including “my granddaughter’s school fees,” she added.

Source: allafrica.com

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