Fisherfolk urged to ‘play their part’ in sustainability of the fishing industry

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Agriculture Minister Noel Holder has called on fisherfolk to play their part by getting licenced, practicing sustainable fishing activities and comply with the regulations that are applied by the Fisheries Department.

He was at the time addressing this year’s Fisherfolk Day which was held at the Upper Corentyne Fishermen Coop Society Ltd in #66 Village, Berbice.

Minister Noel Holder
Minister Noel Holder

This year’s proceeding was observed under the theme “Combatting IUU Fishing, Preserving our Marine Resources” and saw fisherfolk from all walks of life participating in the day’s activities.

Guyana recently became a signatory to a Port States Measure Agreement (PSMA) to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. The agreement was developed and officially entered into force on June 6th, 2016. According to a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA), this agreement seeks to utilise robust port state measures to combat this scourge.

Minister Holder also called for the local law enforcement body to exercise the full force of the law on persons found committing acts of piracy citing recent piracy attacks which left several families in distress. “Recently we had a horrendous criminal act that has left many families without a father, husband and bread winner. More horrendous is the fact that this act was perpetuated by fishermen within this very region,” Minister Holder said.

Fisherfolk are faced with many challenges like climate change and other man made challenges like robberies and smuggling. Smuggling has the potential to adversely affect the health of persons who consume fish and other seafood products and by-products that get on the market through illegal channels. Such practices have the potential to generate many problems such as the introduction of harmful pests and diseases into the environment.

Chief Fisheries Officer, Denzil Roberts handing over a trophy to a during the Fisherfolk Day
Chief Fisheries Officer, Denzil Roberts handing over a trophy to a participant in the Fisherfolk Day celebrations

Chief Fisheries Officer, Denzil Roberts in his address to the gathering echoed the call for coops to be registered adding that, it serves as a stepping stone to ensuring that the voices of all fisherman is heard.

The Fisheries Department launched the Fisherfolk Organisation last year, which has been receiving slow support from some fisherman coop. The Chief Fisheries Officer, used the occasion to remind fishermen of the role the organisation plays in ensuring a level playing field in the industry.

“We all have a role to play in bettering the lives of our fishermen and together we can achieve this….the Fisheries Department is taking a holistic approach to address some of the constraints affecting the trade in Guyana and one such, is joining in the fight to eliminate illegal fishing,” he said.

Guyana has recently signed on the IUU by taking a global response to eliminating illegal fishing in Guyana. This has seen a number of measures being taken by the Fisheries Department in ensuring that illegal fishing becomes a thing of the past.

“Among the measures we have taken is ensuring that all trawlers are registered….we are now in the process of enforcement,” he said.

Meanwhile, Regional Chairman David Armogan  spoke of the importance protein plays on one’s diet and the contribution the industry continues to play in contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A section of the gathering at the Fisherfolk Day
A section of the gathering at the Fisherfolk Day

Diversification of Guyana’s agricultural commodities continues to be on the front burner of Government’s quest to transform the sector.

“Gone are the days when we only rely on rice and sugar as our main contributing factor to GDP….we must now look towards diversification to better push our agricultural commodities and aquaculture is one such avenue,” he said.

The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Agriculture and other sub-agencies and ministries, continue to strategically put plans and systems in place to preserve and sustain the fishing industry so that persons can continue to earn an honest livelihood in a comfortable environment.

 

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