Apr 30, 2021 News
– says Ambassador Lynch after meetings held with Upper Corentyne Chamber and fisherfolk
Kaieteur News – The issue of illegal fishing in Guyana and particularly in the Corentyne waters has been a burning issue for a number of years. Back in January, a defence pact was signed between Guyana and the United States of America for the safeguarding against illegal fishing. Against that backdrop, US Ambassador, Sarah Ann Lynch, visited Region Six, particularly the Upper Corentyne and met with the Upper Corentyne fisherfolk, the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor of Corriverton, Winston Roberts, to have discussions on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing along with other issues.
The Ambassador noted that the meetings she had “…was an educational experience to learn from the local fishermen about their challenges with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.” This she said, “is an important issue of sovereignty and sustainability for Guyana and the United States offers its partnership to help Guyana monitor its resources.”
At a joint press briefing at the City Inn Hotel in Corriverton on Wednesday with President of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce, Krishnand Jaichand, Ambassador Lynch made it known that President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has registered his concerns about climate change and that the issue of illegal fishing “…impacts not only the environment but it impacts global economy as well.”
The Ambassador mentioned that with approximately 26 Million tons of fish being caught illegally each year, money is taken out from the pockets of fisherfolk and going to places, “it shouldn’t go.” With over 10,000 fisherfolk in Guyana, Ambassador Lynch said that it is important that they get paid appropriately and “profit from their work.”
It was also mentioned by the Ambassador that with IUU being added to the Ship rider Agreement it allows for the US and Guyana to partner and execute joint patrolling in the waters…”when they suspect there is illegal fishing or transit of illegal products… and they can work together to address those issues on the high seas and it also involves some on the job training at the same time.” She stated that while she is aware that such activities have been taking place, there have been no arrests thus far.
“The people along the Corentyne River basin recognise the important economic and environmental consequence of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” the Ambassador said following her meeting with the fisherfolk.
Jaichand, while addressing the media at the joint press conference, stated that issues such as the current ban on the export of catfish to the United States, licensing issues of fishermen in Guyana, security and governance were also raised at the meetings with the Ambassador. As it relates to the issue of licensing, fishermen disclosed at the meetings that they are forced to purchase from persons who are holders of licences in Suriname.
Jaichand said that the fishermen have to pay US$3000 for the licence before they can fish. He however mentioned that the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, has been apprised of the issue and he has been working along with Suriname to have 150 Guyanese fishermen licensed to fish in that country.
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