– Tuna Processing expected to come on stream in 2017
Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, has disclosed that for 2016, Guyana’s fisheries sector grew by 11 percent.
This, he said, can be attributed to the increased focus on aquaculture – which he touted, will become necessary as a substitute for seafood as the marine resources become challenged.
Minister Holder said that there was more detailed planning in 2016 by the Fisheries Department which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture, especially as it relates to aquaculture and small scale fisheries which has seen over 20 new aquaculture farms come on stream.
The Guyana Fisheries Department is responsible for managing, regulating and promoting the sustainable development of the nation’s fishery resources for the benefit of the participants in the sector and the national economy.
The Fisheries sector is made up of three primary components: Marine Fishery, Aquaculture and Inland Fishery.
Minister Holder boasted, also, that for the first time, deep sea fishing is occurring in Guyana. This initiative, he said, will be further encouraged as this is an area of the Exclusive Economic Zone that is not exploited.
“Thus far, Pritipaul Singh Investments Inc. (PSI) with its Atlantic Tuna Plant has pursued deep sea fishing, and given the positive outlook, the company has signalled an investment of about US$15 million to process tuna.
“We hope to have more companies invest in this type of fishing. Additionally, thus far in 2016, the marine sub-sector raised revenue by 10 per cent and recorded exports of 17,930MT (metric tonnes) or G$12.7 billion.”
The Minister said that the government’s commitment to the sustainable management and advancement of the local fisheries sector is ‘unwavering’. He highlighted some of the initiatives to maintain a viable fisheries sector.
He spoke about the Ministry acceding to the Port State Measures Agreement to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing whilst stressing that IUU can lead to the collapse of the fishery industry or can seriously impair efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted.
In 2017, the Fisheries Department will conduct more enforcement activities on fishing vessels, he added.
“We will persist with our quest to attain the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the seabob sector. The MSC is a well-recognized eco-label that proves that a country has adopted sustainable fishing practices.
“It is a difficult and arduous process but we will continue our collaboration with the Trawler Association to acquire this certification. To increase the department’s monitoring capability, we will implement an observer programme.”
Formulation of the Fisheries Advisory Committee (FAC)
The Minister said that with the formulation of the Fisheries Advisory Committee (FAC) will result in more meaningful consultations with relevant stakeholders on issues affecting the sector.
This, he said, will see increased coordination with the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Marine Branch and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for the enforcement of fisheries regulations which is expected to result in increased revenue through the licensing of more artisanal vessels.
“2017 will also see increased contact between the Fisheries Department and Fishermen’s Cooperatives which will result in improved management of the facilities to better provide for the needs of the fisher folk,” Holder said.
In 2017, the promotion and development of a sustainable aquaculture and inland fisheries sector will be achieved through the maintenance of the indigenous stocks and the research and promotion of new marketable species at the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station (SSAS), the Minister said.
“The formation of the National Aquaculture Association will serve as a catalyst for the promotion and development of the subsector.
Furthermore, progress with hinterland fishing will be propelled with the assignment of staff to the North Rupununi area to assist with the Arapaima Management Plan and to encourage and facilitate aquaculture activities.”
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