Pact with Suriname, US market access priorities for fishing sector in 2012

Late last year the Ministry of Agriculture announced that it had met its counterpart agency in Suriname and discussions on “fishing issues” had led to an understanding that an agreement would be hammered out between the two countries.

It is no secret that bilateral agreements between Guyana and Suriname take ages to come to fruition, given the proclivity on both sides for paying attention to detail. The Ministry of Agriculture says it is attaching much importance to the agreement being concluded given the fact that “most fisher folk on the Lower Corentyne fish in Surinamese waters. The ministry says there is need for more collaboration between the two countries so as to ensure that Guyanese fisher folk are able to ply their trade legally and receive similar treatment as Surinamese nationals with respect to fishing rights. It is worth mentioning that Guyanese fisher folk have, on occasion, been vigorously discouraged by the Surinamese authorities from fishing in that country’s waters.

No less important than an agreement that regularises fishing relationships between Guyana and Suriname is one that addressed the vexed question of piracy. The Agriculture Ministry says the agreement will address “the constant threat of piracy” in a manner that ensures fisher folk from both sides would be able to work in a more secure environment.

The Agriculture Ministry, meanwhile, has said that inspectors from the United States had examined trawlers operating in Guyana’s fishing zone with a view to determining the efficiency of their Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and had expressed their satisfaction with the devices. As a result, the US inspectors had agreed to recommend “another year of access to the US market” for marine products exported from Guyana. The use of TEDs is a condition by the US to allow export of trawler fish to the US market.

The Agriculture Ministry said that its efforts to create a fish diversification programme in 2012 benefited from the expansion of the aquaculture sub-sector which now comprises more than 3,000 hectares across the country. The Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station had produced approximately 60,000 tilapia fingerlings and had made these available to local aquaculture practitioners.

Imported feed continues to be a significant cost in the aquaculture process and research is ongoing at the Aquaculture Station on the use of various feeds.

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