The Ministry of Agriculture says it will be going after those individuals who fish the inland waterways indiscriminately thereby leading to a situation that could adversely affect the livelihood of Amerindians in the hinterland regions.
In a release the ministry said inland fish stocks are threatened by overfishing and other activities such as logging, mining and road construction.
“These activities, if not properly regulated can result in serious effects on aquatic life and the rights of Amerindian populations in the interior of Guyana,” the release stated. It added that expanding harvesting of inland fish by non-Amerindians may adversely affect their food supplies and traditional lifestyle.
Addressing participants at a Fisherfolk Convention recently Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud had said that people need to understand that some communities depend on fishing for their livelihood.
“We have people drive in from Georgetown and elsewhere, spend four days fishing then out,” he said. According to Persaud, they know who some of these individuals are and will be putting in place the necessary policy to go after them.
Meanwhile, the release stated that inland fishing has increased on a commercial scale with the use of seines and nets now more prominent. As a result, Persaud has mandated the ministry’s Department of Fisheries to develop an Inland Fisheries Policy to control fishing activities. It added that increased enforcement activities are also planned.
“The Fisheries Department in parallel with the development of an Inland Fisheries Policy will implement immediate actions to mitigate activities that would threaten the sustainable utilisation of the inland fisheries resources,” the statement continued.
It added that the policy and interventions would be conducted in full consultation with all stakeholders.
The ministry said the fisheries legislation of 2002 has put in place the legal framework for effective fisheries management and development and it was under that act the new policy would be empowered. The department has adopted the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) Inland Fisheries Guidelines as a foundation to develop the policy and has engaged the agency to help with its formulation.
Restrictions are already in place on fishing in the water conservancies and protected areas.