Decline in fish catches a global issue

Guyana’s fisheries industry is not the only one battling with a decline in fish catches. Researchers have declared the concern a global matter.  

Research has shown that there is an overall reduction in yield globally, over the past years.

According to a landmark study by the Guardian.com, global fish catches are now falling three times faster than official UN figures suggest.

A fishing net

In Guyana, fisherfolk have been complaining about the state of the industry, noting that they are having difficulties catching the normal number of fishes after plying their daily trade.

While this is the case, there are other nations whose fishing sectors are in shambles, compared to Guyana’s.

Cognisant that seafood is a critical source of protein for some 2.5 billion people, the PPP/C Government remains adamant that the nation’s fishing industry will never go downhill.

In fact, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, MP, held several engagements with fisherfolk to listen to concerns and iron out matters affecting them.

It was against this back drop, government met with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to assist with an analysis, to determine the reason behind the low catches.

FAO is a specialised agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, while EPA’s mandate is to promote and coordinate effective environmental management and protection.

Fisherfolk preparing their boat before a new working day

“I am assuring you that we will have this study done and when that is finished, we can safely conclude on what is causing the low catches,” said Minister Mustapha, as research gets underway.

During a recent consultation with fisherfolk at the Agriculture Ministry’s boardroom, Guyana’s FAO Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith explained that the decline in catches was observed in previous years.

“This is before COVID-19, it got worse during Covid, if you look at the figures it was going down before Exxon [Mobil]. There is myriad of issues that are probably contributing to the reduction in catch,” Dr. Smith underscored.

She said the agency is willing to help conduct all possible assessments, to determine the reason for the current challenge and called for solid support from fishers.

Meanwhile, international investigations have suggested many factors which can be the cause for the decrease in the number of fishes caught daily, blaming overfishing as one of the contributors.

It is believed that seafood is being caught at rates that exceed its capacity to replenish.

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