Gov’t recommits to addressing fishing sector issues

The Ministry of Agriculture continues to make significant strides towards advancing Guyana’s fishing industry, to encourage increased investment and productivity.

Of the $292.4 million budgeted for the fisheries subsector, some $121.7 million was expended at the end of June 2021.

A species of fish on display at the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station

That investment saw the completion of a strategic plan (2021-2026) for the development of inland fisheries and aquaculture. Government is also drafting amendments to the Fisheries Act 2002 to incorporate inland fisheries and an aquaculture legislative framework.

“When this government took office in 2020 the state of the fisheries industry was quite dismal. To reverse the effects of its mismanagement by the previous administration, we immediately withdrew the VAT on fisheries inputs.

Now, fishermen are once again able to purchase fishing equipment and (get) fishing licenses without having to pay exorbitant fees to conduct their businesses,” Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha said.

As stated in the 2021 mid-year report, in March 2021, an aquaculture committee was established to provide strategic direction for the commercialisation of the aquaculture industry and the preparation of the aquaculture master plan.

A breeding programme is being developed for indigenous species at the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station to provide patwa, lukanani and hassar fingerlings, and snail hatchlings at a subsidised cost to farmers.

A species of fish on display at the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station

The report also declared the relaunching of the National Fisherfolk Organisation this year, along with the Parika and Meadow Bank Fisherman Cooperatives. Training in organisational management and monitoring of financial transactions and other records was also conducted.

Further, the channels at No. 66 Village and the Albion landing sites were desilted to facilitate movement of the fishing vessels.

Minister Mustapha has started consultations with fisherfolk countrywide to ascertain their daily challenges. The minister said he wants to work closely with the men and women on the ground to physically understand their pleas.

Most recently, Minister Mustapha hosted a boardroom meeting with almost 50 fisherfolk from the Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region Two) district at the Regional Democratic Council.

There, the minister listened to the concerns raised. He urged them to establish a group with a leader to make representation on their behalf. A technical team from the agriculture ministry will return to the region to organise the group.

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