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Q&A: Liberia’s Decision to Deny Fishing Permits to 6 Chinese Super Trawlers “Sends a Powerful Message”

Three of the six Chinese super trawlers that were denied fishing permits by the Liberian government docked in Monrovia. Photo via Environmental Justice Foundation.

After months of deliberations, Liberia’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) announced last week that it would deny permits to six Chinese super-trawlers to fish in its territorial waters. The trawlers arrived earlier this year and immediately sparked widespread concern that their ability to catch 12,000 metric tons of fish would wipe out the country’s yearly sustainable catch, jeopardizing both the maritime ecosystem and the livelihoods of coastal populations.

NaFAA Director-General Emma Metieh Glassco granting licenses for these Chinese trawlers would have been a “breach of international protocols.” She added that the vessels’ larger fishing capacities are not compatible with local fishing conditions.

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