After years of complaints relating to the licencing of Guyanese fishermen who ply their trade in waters that belong to Suriname, Guyana and Suriname decided this week that licences will now be issued directly to Guyanese fisherman.
This agreement was among the outcomes of a four-day official visit of Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi to Guyana.
The announcement was made by President Irfaan Ali during a joint press conference in Georgetown on Thursday.
During a visit to the Corentyne in April, President of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce, Krishnand Jaichand had explained that Guyanese fishermen operating along the Corentyne have to pay some US$3,000 to fish under an illegal arrangement with a licensed fishing company in Suriname.
He said then that even when the fish is caught, it has to go to Suriname first and the rejected catch is then sent to Guyana.
The Chamber President said he was informed that Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture has been working with the authorities in Suriname to ensure that some 150 Guyanese fishermen receive their licences, putting an end to the current exploitative arrangement.
The issue was resolved during the visit by President Santokhi.
Dr. Ali dismissed claims of harassment against Guyanese fishermen and indigenous peoples living in the fishing zones, saying “we have come to a solution.”
According to Dr. Ali, the issuance of the licences will commence from January 2022.
“This is so because that is the period that the licence is granted,” Dr. Ali added.
With the direct grant of this licence to Guyanese fishermen, it will end many of the woes currently being experienced and in a major way arresting the issue of illegal fishing.