Fishermen pleading with Gov’t to reverse ban on operating at Hope Canal

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… cite hardship to livelihood

The Fisheries Department of the Agriculture Ministry has instituted a ban against fishermen using the Hope Canal on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) to dock their boats.

The notice states that the fishermen have been given until next Thursday to relocate their vessels to the Hope koker.

However, the fishermen who utilize the docking services at the Canal are up in arms against the move, lamenting that their livelihoods will be affected.

Some of the boats which were banned from docking at the Hope Canal

In their pleas for the decision to be reviewed by Government, the fishermen noted that their only reason for utilising the canal is to harbour their boats and save the vessels from incurring losses when out at sea during inclement weather conditions.

In the past, those whose fishing boats were left in the open ocean suffered major losses, and sometimes their day’s earnings.

“One of the boats that we does get here is around $7 million with everything (equipment). When you put it in the channel and it turn over and break up. What will happen to we?” on of the affected fishermen who spoke to this media group explained.

Meanwhile, at the koker, works were being carried out to remove debris and create a channel for the fishing boats.

However, the fishermen say this will serve no benefit to them, since all the materials will be swept into the ocean in a few days’ time.

“The koker block up and no boat can’t moor there because the water rough. Now they send an excavator to dig a canal, but majority of the stuff will run back into the channel by end of the week. We know that. So where they expect us to go for harbour?”

One fisherman related that due to the closure of the sugar estate at which he previously worked, he had no other choice but to join the fishing industry to obtain an income.

“This country getting hard, and everybody just trying to maintain their family. I get two children and just start to work this boat two weeks now,” he explained.

Others also agreed that their livelihoods are being hindered in light of this decision. The men are calling on the relevant authorities to revoke the ban in order for them to continue to ply their trade in the fishing industry. (Rupadai Seenaraine)

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