May 26, 2022 News
– Pres Ali talks up $10M profits per year
Kaieteur News – In a bid to revive a dying fishing industry in Guyana, President Mohammed Irfaan Ali is moving ahead to ‘try out’ the reportedly “unproven fish cage initiative” at a Region Two Village on the Essequibo Coast called Mainstay/Whyaka.
Ali made this announcement on Wednesday at the village’s community ground and touted that project “could have a profitability of $10M per year”. “You would have heard me speaking about marine cage, new found technology in aquaculture. Very recently, I give the statistics of the shortage of fish and fish products both globally and regionally, so what we want to do is to start the first pilot phase (fish cage project) in Mainstay,” Ali said.
The President added that he is targeting the young people of the village with the project and assured that it will be owned by them. He explained that the marine cage that the government is spending millions to set up at Mainstay will be a commercial one with the aim of producing some 11 metric tons of fish every nine months. Ali related that government will begin works on the project from as “early as next week”.
“Mr. Geer (Mr. Tejnarine Geer, the Chief Fisheries Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture), and his technical team will come with you (the villagers) and they will be working with you in establishing this project. They will be ongoing testing and looking at the best possible location,” Ali told the schoolchildren, teachers and few residents who attended his outreach at the village.
He even went on to give some measurements of the cages that will be set up there: “I think we need three metre depth and 30 metre circumference and it has to be in the flowing water and we will be feeding the fish”.
Ali then added, “Once we do this right, based on the numbers we have established the annual probability could be as much as $10M”. When the government first spoke about its intention of setting Marine Cages in Guyana, Kaieteur News did some preliminary research and had found out that this form of aquaculture is a still in its trial stage even though some countries have had some degree of success with a limited number of fish species.
However, government is confident that the experiment will work in Guyana and had went ahead to set aside some $200M for the project in this year’s budget. Kaieteur News had then asked the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha on sidelines of a parliament sitting, why his government was so confident in a project that is still in its trial stage. Mustapha had rejected that the idea that Marine Cage culture is still in its experimental cage around the world and told Kaieteur News, “No, no, there are some large scale cage culture going for example if you look at China, you must go and Google it and you gon see, Thailand and those areas have a lot of fish cage culture.”
The Minister continued that China, Thailand and other Asian countries had their fair share of declining fish catch and the Marine cage initiative have helped them to replenish the stock. He believes that it can work in Guyana too. In fact, Mustapha related that Guyana had actually asked China for advice and technical help in setting up the project in Guyana. He did admit, however, that although the Fish Cage Culture has proven to be successful in the Asia; it is fairly new in the southern part of the world where Guyana is located. His exact words were “Only in this part of the world the technology might be new, for us the Caribbean and South America but we have to try it before to see how it comes (to see if it can make money or not).”
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