$75M contract signed to rehabilitate Meadow Bank Wharf

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Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha recently announced the signing of a $75 million contract to refurbish the Meadow Bank wharf. He said the support comes as the fishing industry records significant recovery following setbacks.

The contract includes an additional $50 million for the development of the surrounding landing areas.

“These upgrades will include the construction of sheds, water facilities, and stalls for persons who sell fish and other seafood there,” Minister Mustapha said. Khan’s Construction and Transportation Services has been awarded the contract.

Minister Mustapha made this disclosure while addressing fisherfolk from across the country who gathered at the Uitvlugt Community Center to observe Fisherfolk Day 2024.

This year’s event was held under the theme: ‘Protecting Livelihoods, establishing a Safe and Sustainable Environment for our Fisherfolk’.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture/June 2024)

Meanwhile, following a period of decline in catches, which were due to several reasons including climate change, Minister Mustapha announced a major recovery in the fishing industry for 2023, reporting a harvest of 36,396 metric tons of seafood, representing a 37.8 per cent increase.

“Last year, that sector grew by 75%. If we match these production figures with the earnings, you will see that in 2023, the sector earned US $54 million,” the minister said.

Minister Mustapha commended the nation’s fisherfolk for their dedication and bravery, acknowledging the dangers of the profession.

“We must commend and applaud our fisherfolk for the sacrifices they make by braving the elements at sea to earn a living and provide citizens with affordable and nutritious sources of protein. As a government, we are positioning this country to be a major food producer and exporter in CARICOM and you have a very important role to play in these efforts,” Mustapha said.

A section of the gathering at Fisherfolk Day 2024 (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture/June 2024)

The minister also noted the positive trends of the aquaculture industry.

“In recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture has worked tirelessly to bolster the resilience of our fishing communities. With the establishment of the Guyana National Fisherfolk Organization, we have empowered our fisherfolk with greater representation and a stronger voice in policy-making processes. We’ve also resuscitated and enhanced all fishing vessel landing sites across the country,” Minister Mustapha explained.

FAO Country Director Dr. Gillian Smith in her remarks addressed the global challenges facing the fisheries sector, such as climate change, habitat degradation, and the intersection with other activities.

FAO’s Country Representative to Guyana, Dr. Gillian Smith (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture/June 2024)

“We know as we go forward that the fishing sector is not an easy sector; it’s not an easy sector to make a living in. When you make a living, you make a good living. When things are bad, they are really bad. There are also all sorts of other things that impact global fisheries and I am sure that for Guyana, they are not so different,” Dr. Smith said

She encouraged local fisherfolk to collaborate with stakeholders and technical officers to meet the increasing demand for fish and seafood both locally and globally.

 

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