Apr 12, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – “Cavalli”, the $99 million surveillance vessel that was recently acquired by the Fisheries Department could soon commence operations, as the Ministry of Agriculture is working to outfit it with the necessary equipment to carry out its intended purposes.
During a tour of the vessel on Friday last, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha said the vessel will significantly boost the department’s capacity to carry out monitoring and surveillance activities, which is necessary to ensure that all fishing activities are carried out under the prescribed regulations.
“This vessel was acquired some time ago. Since I became Minister, I’ve been questioning the Fisheries Department on how soon we can have the vessel operable. Even though it was acquired almost a year ago, the Ministry is now advancing its efforts to acquire all the additional equipment needed to have the vessel fully operable,” the Minister said.
He added, “Funds were made available in this year’s budget for the procurement of that additional equipment and we are working to make those purchases soon. It is very important to bring this vessel into operation because it will help us to patrol our exclusive economic zone. It will also assist with curbing piracy. That remains a big issue in the fishing industry.”
The subject Minister also said that the vessel will assist with ensuring fishermen are complying with the standard regulations set by the Fisheries Department.
Further to this, Minister Mustapha revealed that he has sought the assistance of the Guyana Defence Force’s(GDF) Coast Guard to assist the Ministry with recruiting the relevant personnel to operate the vessel, since finding the appropriate staff has also contributed to the vessel being inoperable.
In 2016, Guyana had signed on to the Port States Measures Agreement with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which will see Guyana benefiting from initiatives to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal and unregulated fishing in Guyana’s waters. This vessel is expected to be a valuable asset in this respect.
The fishing industry remains one of the most important contributing sectors to Guyana’s revenue as the country exports more than 60% of its catch. This industry is responsible for the livelihood of approximately 15,000 persons and their families.
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