Suriname warns Guyana of no-nonsense policy on fishing grounds
Suriname has dispatched a letter to Guyana informing authorities of its ‘no nonsense’ approach to protecting its fishing grounds and guarding against piracy, according to Surinamese newspaper (de Ware Tijd).
According to the newspaper, the Suriname Government has allocated S’name $80 million under its Home Affairs Ministry to put the Coast Guard into operation this year. “This indicates the government is serious about this matter,” Jerry Slijngard, head of the National Disaster Coordination Center (NCCR) said in an interview with de Ware Tijd.
Last Tuesday, potential suppliers of water vessels and airplanes held a presentation for the Commission to Put into Operation the Coast Guard (COK). The Ministries of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (LVV) and Justice and Police are part of this commission, while the NCCR represents the National Army.
“The plans are at an advanced stage,” Slijngard states, but adds, it is too early to divulge further details. “The games are over now, and some surprises are in store”, says LVV official Gerrit Breinburg about the government’s aggressive plans to protect the natural resources at sea in a serious manner.
He says that with an eye on the big plans for the Coast Guard, LVV Minister Hendrik Setrowidjojo has already sent a letter to his counterpart in Guyana informing him that Suriname will conduct a ‘no-nonsense’ policy to protect its fishing grounds against illegal fishing and piracy.
“It is well-known that many Guyanese fishermen are active here, whether legal, illegal or in a grey zone. We have stated in the letter that illegal fishermen will be brought in. Those fishing in Surinamese territorial waters with a Surinamese permit will be registered as well,” Breinburg explains. The letter also invites Guyana to sign a fisheries agreement with Suriname that will allow a limited number of Guyanese vessels and will include guidelines for the types of vessels, catching methods and the delivery of fish in both countries.
“We’ve received indications that certain (illegal) methods are being used, and we will deal with this in a serious manner”, Breinburg adds. Besides investments being made in equipping the Coast Guard, legislation is being drafted to increase sanctions on violators. Both Breinburg and Slijngard say the government has the political will to bring order in this matter.