Aug 04, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – As shrimp production continues to decline here, the Ministry of Agriculture is set to embark on two more shrimp farms in the Berbice area this year.
In an advertisement published in yesterday’s Kaieteur News, the ministry invited bids for contractors to construct a shrimp farm at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice, Region Five and another project at Farm, Rosehall, Berbice Region Six.
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha when contacted yesterday said he was in a meeting and requested that a call be returned within an hour; however efforts to contact him subsequently were futile. Kaieteur News understands that bids for the project will be opened at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) on August 23. Back in February, the Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh reported to the National Assembly that shrimp production declined by 13.5 percent. The drop in production was a result of lower catches of whitebelly and industrial seabob shrimp. These declines outweighed increased catches of artisanal seabob shrimp and prawns, Singh added.
Meanwhile, in December last year, this newspaper reported that the Ministry of Agriculture was pursuing 74 ponds to hopefully double the production of shrimp, by 2025, with a $58 million investment. Kaieteur News was told that the project site is located along the Corentyne coast from the Berbice River Bridge to Number 49 Village, in Region Six.
Furthermore, it was related that the scope of works included the desilting of drainage and irrigation canals, pond preparation (that is building dams higher), removal of vegetation in the pond and desilting where possible.
Tubes were also installed to facilitate drainage and irrigation. The works are being completed by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), as was related by a credible source.
The Ministry said that the project is specifically aimed at boosting the production of brackish water shrimp from 250,000 kilograms to 500,000 kilograms in four years’ time. This is one of the measures the government has pursued amidst complaints of decreased seafood catch, by local fishers. The Fisheries Department has teamed up with the NDIA to construct the 74 ponds for the rearing of brackish water shrimp.
According to Wikipedia, ‘brackish water’, also sometimes termed brack water, is water occurring in a natural environment having more salinity than freshwater, but not as much as seawater. Salt water is the ideal environment for the rearing of shrimp.
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