[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has not taken too kindly the announcement that the Ministry of Agriculture is considering licensing Chinese fishing vessels to operate in Guyana’s waters.
In a statement, the GHRA noted that this is another example of Guyana’s natural resources being bartered away to Chinese interests without any reference to the people most directly affected, or the environmental effects.
According to the GHRA, the fact that the Guyana Association of Trawler Owners and Seafood Processors (GATOSP) have been instructed to limit their fleets in order to protect species and prevent over-fishing, means that the intended licensing of Chinese vessels is yet another example of Guyana’s biodiversity being sacrificed to Chinese profits.
“Moreover, Guyanese labour is once again taking second place to Chinese labour. If the current limits imposed on the number of trawlers allowed to fish in Guyanese waters are to be lifted, Guyanese fishermen ought then to be the first to benefit. If this project were to go ahead, it is patently clear that Chinese factory ships will be anchored off-shore and fed from the catches from the Chinese trawlers to be cleaned, filleted, frozen and packaged. How else would they dispose of their catch?” the GHRA noted.
The GHRA is alleging that Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy is yet to respond to the concerns raised by President of GATOSP.
“The views of GATOSP are evidently a low priority since their President has complained that he cannot get responses to his letters nor an interview with the Minister. Assurances that the Chinese will not be allowed to fish for species currently assigned to GATOSP members is a subterfuge, since the Ministry has no way of effectively monitoring what is taking place on the high seas.”