The Government of Guyana has indicated that it is in support of an analysis being done to determine the cause of a significant decline in catches being experienced by local fishermen.
Stakeholders in the local fishing industry met on Wednesday with the Agriculture Minister, Zulficar Mustapha. During the meeting the fishermen and other stakeholders raised worry about the current state of the fishing industry.
Minister Mustapha said the government prefers to have an analysis done to determine its response rather to act on assumptions.
“This government will not let the fisheries industry die. We agree that there have been low catches but we have to shy away from making assumptions without proper first conducting a proper analysis. Guyana is not the only country that is being affected by low catches. This is a global phenomenon and the factors will vary from country to country. The reason behind low catches in one country may not be the reasons behind low catches in another. A number of factors can be causing the low catches and, as a government, we are prepared to work with you to do the work so that we can have a solution to this issue,” Minister Mustapha said.
The Minister of Agriculture announced that the Government has started to engage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to assist with an analysis to determine the reason behind the low catches.
He told the fisherfolk also, that a collective effort between the government and players in the fisheries sector is needed to address the issue of low catches in Guyana.
The FAO, which focuses on issues relating to food around the world, has assisted governments with conducting similar analyses in other countries.
Some of the fishermen believe that the low catch problems that they are facing has to do with the increased activity out at sea in the oil sector.
The ExxonMobil company has said it cannot be blamed for the issue in the absence of any comprehensive study on what is taking place being done.