Agreement signed to deter and eliminate illegal fishing in Guyana’s waters
Under a US$500, 000 project, the Government will be able to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Guyana’s waters.
The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday inked an agreement with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the project to commence. The project, which is funded by the FAO, is expected to be completed within the next 18 months.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. George Jervis expressed gratitude to the FAO for such a timely intervention.
“It is important to note that Guyana has a series of systemic closed fishing seasons where trawlers are prohibited from fishing to allow the fish stock to mature. This is done to allow for a sustainable fishing industry. However, the fact is that it is quite common all over the world that persons do not abide by these rules and regulations. If we do not take control of this it will get out of control. They may harvest the fish stock at a time Guyana’s industry does not consider it mature” Mr. Jervis said.
The fishing industry is one of the most important contributing sectors to Guyana’s revenue as the country exports more than 60% of its catch. This industry is responsible for the livelihood of approximately 15,000 persons and their families.
During his 2016 budget speech, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder revealed that in 2015, the marine sub-sector produced 35,835mt of seafood, raised revenue to the sum of G$25, 426, 250 and recorded exports of 21, 568MT or US$ 71 M (G$14.7Billion).With the implementation of the agreement, this sub-sector is expected increase its financial input to the economy.
Also speaking at the signing ceremony was the FAO Country Representative to Guyana, Mr. Reuben Robertson. He indicated that the FAO will be giving technical assistance to Guyana to assist in their fight against Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
“During a capacity building workshop which was held in April of this year, stakeholders recognised that there was a piece legislation regarding the fishing industry (Fisheries Act No. 12 of 2002) that needed strengthening. It was during this workshop that participants were able to identify key gaps in the national legislation and regulations of the provisions of the PSMA.” Mr. Robertson said.
The Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) was approved by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Conference at its 36th Session in Rome under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution in 2009. The aim of this agreement is to prevent IUU-caught fish from entering international markets through implementation of harmonised measures by countries and through regional fisheries management organisations.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing hinders the growth of developing countries such as Guyana.