PRESIDENT, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, has said his government is moving ahead with the roll out of a number of innovative solutions, to ensure the livelihood of fisherfolk is maintained.
Guyana’s fisheries industry is not the only one battling with a decline in fish catches. Research points to the issue being a global concern.
To this end, the Head of State said the government will not sit idly by and allow the industry to fall.
“We are not sitting back. We have a responsibility to find solutions and that is what we are doing. We are working every single day on finding innovative solutions,” he emphasised.
President Ali said a marine cage project will soon be established, which will guarantee fisherfolk close to $8 million annually. He said Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, will host consultations with fishermen and women about the new plan.
“… and when you examine the numbers, each one of those marine cages can bring in a net value of close to $8 million annually. And you could pay back for the investments within six months,” Dr. Ali explained.
He said communities within the hinterland district will also benefit from the major intervention.
“… then in hinterland community we are looking at [installing]marine cages in the rivers where the water is flowing so that we can grow tilapia there in a more natural environment.”
The initiative, President Ali noted, will assist with the reduction of operation costs. He said profits gained will meaningfully enhance the livelihood of residents throughout the district.
A marine cage is a system set up in lakes, reservoirs or ponds to confine fishes. It allows water to pass freely between the fish and surrounding water resource, thus maintaining good water quality and removing waste.
Further, Dr. Ali said pre-feasibility studies were also conducted for the growing of prawns and tilapias.
About 100 acres of land were already identified for prawn production that will give the nation enough capacity to take care of the demands.
Additionally, over 70 fishing ponds will be constructed in East Berbice Corentyne, Region Six for the rearing of shrimp with the aim of expanding the nation’s aquaculture industry. The fisheries department, along with the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), is overlooking the project.
“So, we are not sitting back and be observer of the reducing fish catch out there. Globally there is a reduction and we have seen the scientific explanation (as) to why that reduction is there. There is no political directive given to the fish not to come here,” the President added.
The Agriculture Minister continues to meet with fisherfolk to listen to their concerns and iron out other matters affecting them. (DPI)