Fishermen to get safety gears on vessels with donation from FAO
Small fishing vessels in Guyana will now be stocked with safety and emergency equipment following a donation of equipment worth $9.6 million from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The items were handed over on Wednesday during a simple ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We know that there is a great concern for small fishers and their ability to stay safe at sea while they are making their livelihood and so we are very pleased to be able to provide some support,” FAO’s Country Representative, Dr Gillian Smith said during brief remarks.
The donation on Wednesday comprised of items such as fuel containers, life jackets, first-aid kits, and rain jackets.
The donation is part of the FAO’s emergency response project. Already some 300 livestock and 500 cash crop farmers benefitted from safety equipment.
“We have been able to reach 1, 350 small producers in Guyana providing them with approximately $17.3 million Guyanese worth of tangible tools that are meant to help them build back better and safer and to be able to improve or get back to their livelihoods,” Dr Smith said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha said agriculture is important to the country and the Caribbean’s development and “so we will continue to work with our development partners to ensure that we build resilience and at the same time achieve food security in our country and region.”
Minister Mustapha noted that the FAO’s study on the local fishing industry will be released soon.
“Very shortly I will be releasing a report, a study that was conducted by the FAO to look at the low catches that our fisherfolk are experiencing over the last few months.
“That report is very objective and I want to say that in that report if one summarises that report it concludes that because of climate change we have seen a reduction of fishes in our normal fishing ground,” Mustapha said.
An earlier study by the FAO with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also found that the decline in fish catches is a result of climate change.
To counter the challenges faced by small-scale fishermen, the government removed tax on fishing equipment and fuel and is currently distributing a one-off $150,000 cash grant to fishers.
“Our fishers are important stakeholders to help achieve a food secure CARICOM and they brave the elements and continue to work in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world so that we all can consume cheap proteins,” Minister Mustapha said.