FAO Lebanon Prepares the Ground for a National Fishing Vessel Census

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06 February 2020
FAO Lebanon Prepares the Ground for a National Fishing Vessel Census

© FAO Lebanon

On a windy day in January 2020, fishermen in the Okaibeh port, in Mount Lebanon, sell their freshly caught fish, sorted according to the species. Others mend their nets in preparation for their next fishing trip.

The Okaibeh fishermen shared stories and aspirations with fishing experts Mr. Ahmad AlMazraoui, Mr. Marouene Bdioui from FAO and Mr. Nicola Ferri from GFCM, in the context of a mission carried out from the 25th until the 31st of January 2020, with the support of the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture.

In addition to the Okaibeh port, FAO international and local fisheries experts along with the Ministry of Agriculture experts visited the ports of Jounieh, Abdeh, Saida, Sarafand, Tyr, Al Mina/Tripoli and Dora and conducted interviews with fishermen while observing fishing vessels and gears. 

During their meeting with H.E Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Abbas Mortada, the experts explored strategic solutions to preserve and sustain fisheries resources in light of the challenges facing the sector. Mortada stressed the importance of strengthening the capacities of the Lebanese fishermen as well as applying the necessary standards and conditions for protecting and sustaining the fisheries sector. The experts also met with the Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Director General of the Marine and Land Transport at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Commander of the Lebanese Navy at Beirut Naval Base, staff from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) at the Ministry of Agriculture and other Ministry relevant staff, UN agencies, donors and NGOs. 

Building on these meetings, the fishing experts kicked off the process of a fishing vessel census by training the enumerators and data collectors of the Ministry of Agriculture on survey methodology and questionnaire administration, then headed to Dora Fishing Port and pilot tested it. The questionnaire compiles about 16 sections related to fishermen, the vessels and their requisites as well as the gears and equipment used in fishing activities. 

At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, and through FAO’s technical cooperation programme, FAO Lebanon launched in September 2019 a project aiming to provide the Lebanese Government with the technical assistance to accurately assess the fishing fleet and its related requisites. For this purpose, a national census will be conducted, noting that the last fishing vessel census was performed in 2004.