Govt engages EPA, FAO to determine reason behind declining fish catches

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Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha speaking with some fishermen [File photo]

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha today met with stakeholders from the fisheries sector to discuss some of the issues affecting them and how government can provide assistance.

During the meeting, fishermen raised concerns about the low catches they are currently experiencing and how it has affected their ability to suitably provide for their families.

After listening to the fishermen, Minister Mustapha concluded that, indeed, there has been a noticeable decline in catches over the years and that the government was in full support of having the necessary analyses done to determine the root cause of this problem.

“Let me make it clear, this government will not let the fisheries industry die. We agree that there have been low catches but we have to shy away from making assumptions without proper first conducting a proper analysis. Guyana is not the only country that is being affected by low catches. This is a global phenomenon and the factors will vary from country to country. The reason behind low catches in one country may not be the reasons behind low catches in another. A number of factors can be causing the low catches and, as a government, we are prepared to work with you to do the work so that we can have a solution to this issue,” Minister Mustapha said.

Minister Mustapha informed the fishermen that the government has since engaged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to assist with conducting an analysis to determine the reason behind the low catches.

He also told the fisherfolks that a collective effort between the government and players in the fisheries sector is needed to address the issue of low catches in Guyana.

The FAO, which focuses on issues relating to food, around the world has assisted governments with conducting similar analyses in other countries.