Guyanese fishing boats to return to Suriname for licensing under renters

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While the wait continues Guyanese to be granted fishing licences by Suriname, the boats used by the Guyanese are to be returned to Suriname to be registered under the names of Surinamese renters for 2023.

Based on Surinamese law, fishing licenses are only granted to citizens of that country. Guyanese fisherfolk have, however, been fishing under an exploitative, unsanctioned arrangement wherein they rent the licenses from the Surinamese.

The News Room understands that with the licences being registered for 2023, the boats must be in Suriname to be on the licence. Therefore, Guyanese who only recently were allowed to bring their boats home will have to return these boats to Suriname.

Although the Government of Guyana has intervened to assist fisherfolk with acquiring Suriname fishing licences to ply their trade in Suriname’s waters, there has been a delay despite Suriname’s commitment to Guyana two years ago.

Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha has said he is still awaiting a meeting with his Suriname counterpart to discuss the much needed licences.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha

“I haven’t received anything from Suriname. I have spoken to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and he also hasn’t received any information,” the Agriculture Minister said. He also assured that the government will indicate as soon as any updates on the fishing licences are available.

In the meantime, the Chairman of the Guyana National Fishing Folk Organisation Parmeshwar Jainarine, has said the boats which are now docked in Guyana will soon have to be docked in Suriname.

Chairman of the Guyana National Fishing Folk Organisation Parmeshwar Jainarine

This is to facilitate the licencing process for 2023 licences but this means the efforts made by fisherfolk to return their boats to Guyana will be retracted.

“They [renters] calling the boats them next week to go over. A lot of boats start preparing to go over on the fourth of December to be registered back in Suriname,” Jainarine said.

With this agreement, Jainarine said the fishermen fear the renters will soon increase the cost to rent the licences.

Additionally, the fishermen are heavily relying on the government’s efforts to assist them with getting their own licences.

In October, an email was shared in the Surinamese Parliament showing the Surinamese government did indeed commit to granting fishing licences to Guyanese fishermen.

Based on the email, Suriname made additional proposals to improve the licensing arrangement for Guyanese fishermen in keeping with the Dutch-speaking country’s Fisheries Act.

The country proposed that a government-owned company be appointed to act as the business partner for Guyanese fishermen and to facilitate the signing of a “vesselbasing” agreement to simplify the process.

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