Liberian fishing boats (Credit: Environmental Justice Foundation)President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted to the Liberian Senate for enactment a Bill titled: An Act to Amend Title 23, Natural Resources Law, Liberian Code Revised by Repealing Subchapter B, Fish Resources and to amend title 30, Public Authorities Law to create the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority.The Bureau of Fisheries has been under the Ministry of Agriculture, until it was recently transferred to the Liberia Maritime Authority under an Executive Order.In her communication dated June 24, 2017, President Sirleaf noted the object of the Act is to ensure the long-term management, conservation, development and sustainable use of the fisheries and aquaculture resources and related ecosystems for the benefit of the people.“As you are aware, the Fisheries and aquaculture sectors have the potential to make an enduring and significant contribution to the development, economy and wellbeing of the nation. However, there have been challenges in harnessing the resources associated with these sectors,” President Sirleaf noted.President Sirleaf expounded on the existence of need to establish an appropriate framework for the formulation of policy and the transparent and accountable management of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.This Act, President Sirleaf noted, “will address the ongoing need to comprehensively regulate and control fishing and related activities within the areas under national jurisdiction to illegal fishing and related activities. It will also enforce applicable conservation and management measures within and beyond the Fisheries Waters in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Liberia and its obligations under regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements and international law.”When passed into law, President Sirleaf assured it will facilitate the management and development of the fisheries and aquaculture resources for the benefit of the Liberian people, “most especially those communities whose livelihood depend on these resources.”Immediately after the communication was read, a motion was proffered to send it to the relevant committees with the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as lead committee.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…3 in custodyAs it continues to crack down on smuggling activities, the Guyana Revenue Authority GRA) has reported that its Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) last week intercepted a vessel carrying large quantities of foreign chicken and mosquito coils. According to the revenue collection agency, the ship was intercepted during a sting operation on May 2, 2018 while the vessel was in the Atlantic Ocean.Upon discovering hundreds of boxes of foreign chicken and mosquito coils, suspected to be smuggled from Suriname, the GRA said the Captain and two sailors, who were on board the vessel, were apprehended and placed into custody as investigations continue.The tax collection body noted that they were first-time offenders; however, several recent interceptions have implicated repeat offenders. Second-time offenders are liable to pay three times the duties and taxes as a fine. While, third-time offenders may be prosecuted and/or be allowed to pay three times the value of the item as a fine, as compensation in lieu of court proceedings. In many cases, these offences also result in seizure of the goods and confiscation of the vehicles involved.This recent interception comes as GRA’s LEID continues its fight against smuggling. In fact, the Authority disclosed that from January 2018 to date, the Division has been able to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in Customs Duties, Excise Taxes, Environmental Levy and VAT, in addition to fines, and has confiscated significant quantities of commonly smuggled items including alcohol, foreign chicken and mosquito coils.“The LEID operations exemplifies the GRA’s commitment to deter, disrupt, and prosecute individuals who attempt to import prohibited items, and evade the payment of their fair share of duties and taxes,” the agency asserted.Moreover, the Authority went on to outline that whistleblowers have significantly improved LEID’s performance and the agency’s revenue collection. To this end, the GRA said the general public must be complimented in aiding the Authority’s efforts to stamp out this activity.