‘Most’ of the protocols completed to remove Catfish ban – Agri. Minister
The majority of the protocols that were required to remove the current ban on catfish to the United States are almost complete.
This was revealed by Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha on Monday.
For approximately four years now the ban on catfish was imposed and the current government has been working “aggressively” to meet the US regulations to once again export this product.
According to Minister Mustapha, who spoke at the National Food Control System of Guyana workshop on Monday, the Fishery Product Regulations of 2003 has been updated and will soon be published in the official gazette.
“I want to enlighten this workshop and participants that we are working very aggressively once again so that the ban on catfish on our country export to the United States could be removed,” Minister Mustapha revealed.
“At present we have finished most of the protocols in terms of the fishing regulations we have updated. The [Environmental Protection Agency] is presently working with other stakeholders to conduct testing of the water where these fishes are being harvested and the [Fisheries Act Inspection Manual and Regulations] is almost completed in terms of updating.”
Exporters of catfish have been severely affected over the past few years as a result of the ban.
Once all protocols have been completed an audit of the local fisheries department and other agencies will be conducted by US officials.
US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah Ann Lynch had committed to looking into the issue during a meeting with local fisherfolk last April.
Exporters of catfish were required by the US Food and Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) to provide documentation to verify that their inspection system was equivalent to US standards.
This protocol came into effect in 2016 and exporters were given a transitional period, but failure to do this resulted in the United States imposing a ban on catfish imports from Guyana in September 2017.