The University of Liberia (UL) and the National Fishery and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Fishery Science program in the William R. Tolbert, Jr., College of Agriculture and Forestry.
The program will offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Fishery Science, an Associate Degree in Fishery Science, and a certificate for short-term training in Fishery Science.
The program will provide technical hands-on training for local fishermen and women in fish-handling and processing, among others.
Through a US$1.2m World Bank grant, the University of Liberia, in partnership with NaFAA, will recruit young people and high school graduates for enrollment.
During the signing ceremony on UL’s Fendall campus Thursday, March 10, 2022, Rev. Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., President of the University of Liberia, said it was a great day for celebration at the university after several interactions, consultations, and conversations which led to the signing of the MoU between UL and NaFAA.
“One of our own, an alumnae, is working very hard to uplift her alma mater,” Dr. Nelson said, in reference to NaFAA Director-General Emma Glassco.
President Nelson noted that Madam Glassco and her team at NaFAA decided to collaborate and partner with the university to establish a Fishery Science program in the William R. Tolbert, Jr., College of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Liberia.
He noted that the University of Liberia looks forward to this program, and said it will be intentional to recruit young people and high school graduates to enroll in this program.
“And therefore we are encouraging schools, teachers, principals, and especially so the MCSS [Monrovia Consolidated School System], to work with us closely in the awareness building process to recruit a lot of young people and students into fishery science at the University of Liberia,” said Dr. Nelson.
He thanked the different teams from NaFAA and the World Bank for their continuous partnerships with the University of Liberia through various agencies of the Government of Liberia.
Madam Emma Glassco, Director General of the National Fishery and Aquaculture Authority, said the introduction of the Fishery Science degree at the University of Liberia is a boost to the fishery sector and a win for Liberia.
“We will be able to bridge the ‘knowledge gap’ in the sector by investing in human resource capacity development which will help us maximize the potential in the sector and then Liberians will have a fair appreciation of its commercially valuable species,” Hon. Glassco said.
Speaking on the potential impact of this program on the economy, Director Glassco said it will boost NaFAA’s contribution to the National Budget, attract investments in the fishery sector, increase fish production and enhance international trade through export, among others.
She expressed delight over the new partnership with the University of Liberia, explaining that Liberia is dominated by water bodies, and the country also has the second longest coastline in the sub-region.
Under the program, the NaFAA Boss disclosed that five of the dilapidated annexes of the College of Agriculture at the University of Liberia will be renovated and used as the Fishery Science Department. She said a sophisticated laboratory will also be established to be used for practicals.
Monrovia Consolidated School System Superintendent, Mr. Isaac Saye – Lakpoh Zawolo said the program aligns with his vision for the MCSS, noting that he was consumed by excitement at the signing of the MoU.
Dr. Benjamin Y. Wehye, President, National Association of Liberian School Principals, urged that the program be rolled out in counties along the coast where Liberia has institutions of higher learning so that young people in rural areas can also benefit from training opportunities in Fishery Science.
He advised that innovative ideas must be included in teaching Fishery Science and applied so as to maintain the uniqueness of Liberian fish.