GREENVILLE, Sinoe – The county coordinator of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority in Sinoe says at least 85 percent of canoes have completed their annual registration. Andrew Doe said this came as a result of enforcement by the Coast Guard.
Doe made the announcement to reporters in Greenville on May 24.
“Now we have the total of 15 men as [the] Coast Guard team in Sinoe buttressing our effort to enforce the registration [process],” he added.
In February, NaFAA had issued a new fee schedule that generated complaints from fishermen that the increase was significantly higher than the previous year’s fees. Motorized canoes using equipment rated between 1-14 horsepower would now pay US$200 for their fishing licenses. Those rated 15-40 horsepower in capacity would pay US$475, while those in the 41-100 horsepower range would pay US$1,000.
The previous fee for canoes 1-14 horsepower canoes was L$3,500 (US$17.95) per year for the past decade. For 15-40 horsepower canoes, the fee was L$5,500 (US$28).
After the uproar from fishermen, President George Weah ordered that enforcement be delayed until April 4.
Several fishermen who spoke to The Bush Chicken last Saturday said the process was moving smoothly.
“This time around they are not pressuring us like before,” said Anthony Wiah, a fisherman who operates near Greenville. “We are paying willingly, to admit.”
Doe, the NaFAA county coordinator, said the agency was not only concerned about tax collection; he announced that NaFAA is ensuring that fishermen also adhere to health protocols to ensure that they are protected amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featured photo by Teahwleh Clarke Geeplay