The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) detained more than a dozen Venezuelan-owned fishing boats this week over questions about their licences.
A number of the vessels, docked at two fisheries on East Bank Demerara, were barred from off-loading their Red Snapper catch since Tuesday evening but permission was granted yesterday afternoon after several hours of meetings at GRA headquarters, Camp Street.
Yesterday, Chief Fisheries Officer, Denzil Roberts, explained that while he has not been fully briefed as he had just returned from leave, it must be made clear that there is nothing wrong with Venezuelan boats being licensed here.
The Venezuelan boats specialise in Red Snapper fishing using the long line method, Roberts explained. They have been contracted by a number of fisheries for years now to supply the fish.
Guyanese boats used traps is not the ideal way to catch the prized Red Snapper.
The Venezuelans are more skilled at the long line Red Snapper catching, it was stressed.
The Chief Fisheries Officer said that he will pursue the matter to get to the bottom of it.
According to GRA officials, they were concerned after reports that the Venezuelan boats were not stopping to report at the Stabroek-based Boat House.
The Boat House logs every vessel that enters the Demerara River.
There were also concerns about the licences itself. It was pointed out that Guyana has been moving to reducing the number of fishing boats in operations to protect the fish stock.
However, the fisheries operators explained that the reduction of licences only pertained to Seabob fishing, not Red Snapper.
It was disclosed that the boats are paying an annual fee to the Boat House and have not done anything illegal since the vessels have been coming here since 2011.
The Venezuelans were busy cleaning up and lazing around yesterday awaiting permission to offload their catch.
Officials from the two operations disclosed that more than 100 workers would be affected if the Venezuela supply is cut.
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