Fishing licences to Chinese vessels not a good idea

Dear Editor,

The Environmental Community Health Organization (Echo) is paying careful attention to the media reports that the Guyanese authorities are contemplating granting licences to Chinese fishing vessels to operate in Guyana’s waters. We hope that the reports are inaccurate.

The mood and spirit of nations all over the world, is to scale back on the use of natural resources. Globally, there is an urgency to put strict regulations in place to protect biodiversity and the cultural heritage of local communities. In the face of unprecedented environmental events impacting our environment we, in Guyana, must do more to preserve the health of our ecology and protect local communities.

This is a very serious issue particularly in circumstances where we continue to hurt the environment by polluting rivers and other water sources through mining activities. Recall the cyanide river disaster in 1995 and the pollution of the Arau River in Region Seven (Cuyuni/ Mazaruni) in 2008.

The continually and continuous negative environmental mining practices are impacting on marine life and other biodiversity.

Also, there is the tragedy of commons- members in a group using common resources for their own gain and with no regard for others. This can lead to overexploitation of common resources. Echo has a real concern that this contemplated move by the authorities can lead to overfishing.

Therefore, we, in Echo, believe that it would not be in the best interest of our natural environment to grant licences to Chinese fishing vessels to operate in Guyana’ waters.

Yours faithfully,
Royston King
Executive Director
Echo

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