[www.inewsguyana.com] – In an effort to enhance all fisheries surveillance and enforcement capabilities, the Ministry of Agriculture has moved to have Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) implemented on all marine vessels.
This move is a collaborative effort of the Fisheries Department and the Guyana Association of Trawlers Owners and Seafood Processors and is seen as another step closer to having the industry certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy stated that such a move will significantly aid the fisheries sector as better monitoring of vessels, and accountability will now be more evident.
However, he cautioned Vessel Operators to comply with the new standard so as to ensure a more even playing field, as products using the MSC labels, have more advantage on the global market.
According to a release from the Ministry of Agriculture, the instillation of the VMS units on fishing vessels is one of the major activities the Fisheries Department is looking to have further advanced in 2014.
To date, the Ministry of Agriculture is in receipt of all the VMS units, however, only 30 of the units have been install on Seabob shrimp vessels.
Negotiations are currently on going with the National Frequency Management Unit to have the remainder released and subsequent installed on fishing vessels.
“We are therefore calling on all fishing vessels to be outfitted with VMS units before they are licenced for next year. Such a move will aid in traceability of the catch, as well as the surveillance efforts of the Fisheries Department,” Minister Ramsammy said.
The implementation of the Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) will also assist the Fisheries Department to monitor fishermen to ensure they are in compliance with the Harvest Control Rule (HCR).
The HCR determines the amount of days a vessel is permitted to fish for a year in order to ensure the resource is sustainably harvested.
“Another area for development is boundaries. Presently, negotiations are being done to have fathom lines enforced. Once this is done there will be boundary levels where seabob or prawns vessels are allow to catch. This is to ensure survival of recruits in order to replenish the stocks,” Minister Ramsammy added.
The Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is a satellite based positional tracking system. These devices consist of a Global Positioning System (GPS), and a satellite data transmitter that provides information on vessel name, location and activity.