Less security for Suriname fishermen as navy patrol budget dwindles

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO Starting November, local fishermen will have to do with less security at sea because the budget for the joint project of the Navy and police to increase patrols in fishing grounds will be depleted by the end of this month.

Rene Lieveld, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (LVV) confirms the bad news to dWT. ‘Security is the primary necessity for fishermen’, says Willem Mohamed Hoesein of the Fishermen’s Collective Commewijne. Seven fishermen were attacked by pirates in the past two weeks, and three are still missing, he adds.

In spite of this bad news, Lieveld promises the Coast Guard will be formalized late this year. Commander of the Navy had stated in an earlier interview that there are not enough boats to patrol and protect Suriname’s territorial waters sufficiently. The Navy has its hands full with illegal fishermen, so it can barely monitor smuggling.

LVV has decided to extend the registration period for coastal fishermen with a month at their own request. Most are Guyanese who have return to their country of origin to obtain the necessary documents. “They want to cooperate, so we’re giving them the opportunity to do this,” the LVV official says. During the first period, around 235 fishermen registered. The fishing card to make monitoring easier will be issued only after inland waterways fishermen have been registered as well. Mohamed Hoesein notes fishermen also want to be insured, as insurance is not provided to them due to the high risk of the profession. “We have to pay all costs.” The fishermen are not aware of the Agrarian Credit Fund offered by the Landbouwbank. ‘The bank requires collateral, but most fishermen do not even have a house or a plot. Earlier rice farmers had stated that the requirements of the fund are too high.

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