Jun 30, 2008 News Comments Off on Fishermen call for stiffer penalties for illegal fishing in local territory
This is one of the issues that were highlighted yesterday when the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture hosted ‘Fishermen’s Day 2008.’
The fishermen lamented the fact that foreign countries have stiffer penalties to deal with illegal fishing.
This, one fisherman said, was very obvious in a recent case where Guyanese fisher folks were given very severe fines in Suriname.
In the case of Guyana, the fisherman told the gathering that illegal fishers are dealt with very frivolously.
Under the theme, ‘Fishers and the challenges of Climate Change – Being Prepared,’ fisher folks from across the country yesterday gathered at the Greater Georgetown Fishermen Co-op Society, Meadow Bank, where they hosted a mini exhibition and a Satyadeow Sawh Memorial domino competition.
Addressing the gathering, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud used the opportunity to make an appeal to the agencies and the businesses whose employees were arrested while fishing in foreign waters to be more responsive in addressing the plight of these individuals.
He said that the penalties which are being imposed are indeed severe, and this fact has been brought to the Administration’s attention.
“This has been brought to our attention, and is something that we are taking note of.”
The minister added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been very aggressive in making contact with those persons who were recently arrested in Suriname.
“We have been formally and informally, through the Fisheries Departments in Georgetown and Paramaribo, initiating contacts and discussions,” the minister said.
The fisheries sector, he said, is a very substantial sector because of its contribution to economic development, prosperity and employment in the country.
This sector, Persaud stressed, also plays a critical role in ensuring the food security of the nation.
In Guyana, the per capita consumption of protein from fish is almost triple that of the world’s average consumption of fish and fish products,
Minister Persaud also pointed out that the fishing industry in Guyana is confronted with many challenges, including security, piracy, climate change and the rising cost of inputs.
Last Thursday, Persaud reminded, the Minister of Home Affairs presented the Anti-Piracy legislation to Parliament.
That legislation, he stated, seeks to increase the consequences of piracy. He noted that life imprisonment for such an act is being sought. Speaking about some of the developments in the administration of the sector, Persaud pointed out that, within the fisheries management plan which was recently completed, plans are in place to create a semi-autonomous body to manage the fisheries sector, rather than a department.
Even as the fisher folks were being saluted yesterday, a moment of silence was observed in honour of the life and contribution of Guyana’s first President, His Excellency Mr. Arthur Chung, who died last Monday.
Meanwhile, Head of the National Climate Change Committee, Shyam Nokta, told the fishermen that climate change is one of the main factors that have created the present global situation as it relates to the lack of food supply.
While climate change provides an opportunity for countries like Guyana, “we are also not shielded from the impacts of climate change.”
He noted that if attention is not paid to the consequences of climate change, it would not only affect the market opportunities that Guyana can benefit from, but also threaten the nation’s own food security.
The prediction by scientists, he added, is that by the end of the 21st century, there will be an increase of between one and four degrees in temperature, with an estimated 17-inch rise in sea level.
This phenomenon, Nokta said, will affect the fisheries sector at two levels.
This will include species, where there will be impacts on growth, behaviour and physiology, along with distribution as well as mortality. The second area that will be greatly impacted is the eco-systems, which are very important in supporting the fisheries sector.
Nokta added that climate change can affect the composition of the structure of the eco-system. He told the fishermen that efforts are being made to address the impacts of climate change, while noting the current focus on sea-defenses and drainage and irrigation.
At the event, a presentation was also made on the benefits — both financial and technological — of aquaculture.
In making the presentation, Dr. Leslie Chin of the National Aquaculture Association of Guyana, said that by 2015 aquaculture will be the leading sector in Guyana. Following the formal presentations, there was a mini exhibition, where information relating to the industry was shared with fisher folks.
The fisher folks subsequently participated in the Satyadeow Sawh Memorial domino competition.
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