[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Ministry of Agriculture on Monday announced that the closed season for seabob (shrimp) fishing has ended. The fishery reopened on October 5, 2015, having been closed for seven weeks.
During this period, all seabob trawlers were docked with the exception of a few, which were used for research purposes.
The seabob fishery in Guyana has been well known over the years for generating foreign exchange earnings and revenue through exports regionally and to markets in North America and Europe. The major industrial stakeholders include Pritipaul Singh Investment, Noble House Seafoods, BEV Processors, Guyana Quality Seafoods and Fisheries Department.
The seabob stock was last assessed in June, 2013, where it was deemed fully exploited but not over fished. As a result of this, a proposed Harvest Control Rule (considered as `best practices` in fisheries management) was drafted following deliberations with the consultant, GATOSP and Fisheries Department.
The current rule allows for an overall days-at-sea; 87 licences each with an allocated 225 days at sea. This implementation of the rule commenced in 2014 and is monitored and enforced by the key stakeholders, in particular the Fisheries Department through the Seabob Working Group (SWG). Consistent monitoring of vessel catch (Catch Per Unit Effort) and vessel movements while fishing (via Vessel Monitoring System) are currently being managed by Officers within the Fisheries Department. Individual companies also have the ability to monitor their respective fleets.
Additionally, final measures are currently being put in place for the seabob fishery to enter into assessment for achievement of Marine Stewardship Council Certification (MSC) in the not too distant future.
MSC certification basically signifies that harvesting and management of fisheries resources are being done in a sustainable manner, which in turn allows for access into global markets for sale of produce. Measures implemented include, but are not limited to, installation of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and By-Catch Reduction Devices (BRD`s) on trawler vessels and the drafting of fisheries regulations.
Also drafted is the Seabob Management Plan and an international press release done on the Fisheries Improvement Plan (Guyana Seabob) on the Fishery Improvement Projects website. There is also a seabob fishery observer programme being conducted through funding from the WWF (Guianas) and supported by the Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture and the GATOSP. This programme will initially run for one year.