“US catfish ban doesn’t affect other fish”- Business Minister
DPI, GUYANA, Monday, April 23, 2018
The United States imposed ban on the importation of catfish into that country does not affect other fish. This was the assurance given to residents of the Essequibo Coast by Minister of Business, Dominic.
During his address at the opening of the second Essequibo Agro and Trade Exposition at the Anna Regina Community Centre Ground, on April 20, the Minister cautioned the residents not to be alarmed.
“People need to know the facts because there is a perception that this issue affects all fish. This issue does not affect all of our fish. The problem has to do with US regulations and the fact that they are regulating a different model of production. Their catfish are different from ours. It’s mostly farmed catfish which is taken live to the processing plants where they are killed, degutted and then packaged for sale. So, they have certain regulation in place now to regulate that type of process,” the Minister explained.
Guyana’s catfish are caught in the ocean, killed and degutted on board the vessels, placed on ice, brought to shore and then sent to packaging plants for packing and export. Minister Gaskin explained that this process poses a problem since it is not identical to that of the USA.
The Business Minister explained the relevant authorities in Guyana were notified by the Safety Inspection Services of the US Department of Agriculture, about the planned changes in their regulations for the import of catfish some time ago.
“Guyana export US$70M worth of fish last year and out of that, US$1.2M was catfish. There is ongoing work in our fisheries product regulations. There are some amendments that are required and are being worked on and within a few months these issues will be resolved,” the minister assured.
Following the crafting of these amendments, the US authorities will dispatch a team to audit the processing facility before Guyana is cleared for catfish exportation.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon had recently revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture is working closely with the authorities in the US to reverse the ban.
On February 3, 2018, the US Government imposed a temporary ban on fish exports from several countries, including Bangladesh, Canada, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan.
By: Ranetta La Fleur