‘Mother ship’ for offshore Guyana to stop ‘hundreds of millions’ lost due to illegal fishing

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A sizable vessel could soon be patrolling Guyana’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as part of government’s efforts to curtail illegal fishing there, President Dr. Irfaan Ali said Monday night.

The EEZ, according to the United Nations, is an area of sea in which a sovereign state has exclusive rights to explore and harness the marine resources found there. For Guyana, oil exploration and production, and fishing is done in its EEZ.

But according to the President, Guyana loses “hundreds of millions of dollars” each year because of illegal fishing in these waters. So the government, he said, has to act.

“… we have negotiations going on with the French to have a mother ship established in our EEZ.

“That is a high cost but it is a cost that we have to incur now,” President Ali told business persons gathered at the Private Sector Commission’s annual dinner on Monday night.

Illegal fishing has been a bugbear for quite some time.

In 2021, the President vowed that the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF) capabilities would be boosted to help monitor both the EEZ and Guyana’s land borders.

Last year, a report on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture. That report detailed that as of recent as 2021, there were about 19,000 vessel-days where non-Guyanese flagged vessels were found in the country’s EEZ.

The President also told the business persons that the government is investing heavily in its security systems so that Guyana is protected from all threats. As part of that focus, new aircraft are being invested in while officers are being trained.

He also said new scanners will be installed at the ports of entry and exit to prevent smuggling of any kind.

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