The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) and the University of Liberia Administration have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a degree program in Fisheries Science to be offered at the state-run university. The program, which will be funded by the World Bank and will cost US$1.2 million, aims to build the capacity of aspiring fishery scientists to manage Liberia’s rich fisheries sector.
The signing took place at the University of Liberia’s Fendall campus on Thursday, March 10, 2022. The institution must designate five of its old buildings for rehabilitation for use in the program, as well as a land area for the construction of restrooms, as part of the MoU.
According to MoU, UL is responsible for awareness and sensitization on the new career and course as well as to create motivation scheme to the general public to interest in acquiring this new skill through the degree-granting program”, the MoU says.
The MoU stipulates that NaFAA will pay the program’s establishment as well as the renovation of five facilities. “Under the terms of the MoU, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) shall provide funding for the establishment of the fisheries program; renovate five buildings and construct bathrooms; provide funding for faculty training for the fisheries program, and set up a laboratory and provide all apparatus and equipment,” both parties agreed.
Madam Emma Metieh Glassco, NaFAA’s Director-General, signed on behalf of the organization, while Dr. Julius Sawolo Nelson signed on behalf of his institution. Madam Glassco, who spoke during the ceremony, described the University of Liberia’s launch of a Fisheries Science program as a boost to the sector and a win for Liberia.
According to her, the program’s implementation will help bridge the knowledge gap in the fisheries sector by investing in human resource capacity development, which will help Liberians understand the commercially viable species and maximize the sector’s potential.
The curriculum will offer a Bachelor’s Degree, an Associate Degree, and certificates, according to Madam Emma. “In addition, a short-term certificate program will be available through this program.” We’re also encouraging our fishermen to improve their seafood processing skills so they can compete with others in the region, which will positively affect our economy.”
Dr. Julius Nelson praised Director-General Glassco and her team for their creativity in bringing the program to Liberia’s school system. Dr. Dennis called the signing a “celebration” at the state-run university and pledged to raise awareness in order to recruit more individuals to the field of Fisheries Science.
The University of Liberia is holding a celebration today. We’ve come to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Liberia and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority following various meetings, consultations, and talks. We all want to recruit students for this program, therefore we’re inviting schools to help spread the word. Dr. Nelson stated, “We are happy to have one of our own, an alumnus, working hard to improve her alma mater.”
The NaFAA boss has long pushed for the inclusion of a Fisheries Science Degree within the Liberian educational system. Madam Glassco announced her idea for a Fisheries Science degree program to be provided in Liberia during a school career day program in 2021 West Point. This was done in acknowledgment of the difficulties Liberian students face when pursuing a Fisheries Science degree in a foreign country. If properly managed, the fisheries sector is expected to be the most lucrative source of revenue for the government.