Thieves raid, steal shrimp from Borlam farm
Shrimp production in Region Six (East Berbice – Corentyne) which is part of a national strategy to increase the country’s export of shrimp is being threatened by thieves who are now raiding the farms.
Owner of the Mensburgh Aquacaulture farm at Borlam, Erwin Abdullah told the News Room that this has always been an issue but with higher production, it has become even more troubling.
The shrimp industry is expected to aid in the country’s goal of becoming the food capital of the Caribbean by 2025.
There are several shrimp farms in Berbice as part of the government’s brackish water shrimp initiative.
During a recent interview, Abdullah said many persons sneak into the farms during the night and steal the shrimp. This reduces the available shrimp for harvest and harvesters and their families are left to suffer.
“This was a new industry so people felt at that time that you could just go in there and just reap the shrimp. Over a period of time, that has slackened off somewhat but it is still a very prevalent problem and one that greatly, negatively impacts our production and productivity,” Abdullah said.
He also explained that the amount of shrimp stolen in one night makes its profitable for perpetrators, when caught, to pay a fine but they often continue with the illegality.
Abdullah hopes the law will be revised so that fines for theft will be increased especially to protect the shrimp industry from suffering major losses.
But already the Ministry of Home Affairs has promised to assist with security at the farms in Berbice.
“We have already tried to get our own security system but to hire security is very exorbitant so we are waiting on the Minister of Home Affairs so we can have our own security system,” he explained.
In the meantime, some 24 farmers who work on this farm benefit from the Government of Guyana’s assistance through the installing of proper infrastructure for the industry to thrive.
A total of $743.7 million from the 2023 National Budget is allocated to the fisheries subsector as part of the government’s intention to expand fishing activities and ease the woes of local fisherfolk.
Already, a brackish-water shrimp production initiative had higher production of this shrimp in 2021 when compared to 2020. Then in 2022 there were further investments to raise aquaculture production by over 300 per cent.
“We are very happy with the interest government has shown in all sectors and government has not neglected the shrimp farmers. We are looking forward to greater help from government because we feel positive government will move in that direction as the need arises,” Abdullah said.
He further noted that the industry needs to get standards that will ensure the shrimps are wholesome. He said control of the water for the ponds is important and he hopes assistance will be given to improve the structures there.