The Seafood Merchants and Processors Owners Association (GATOSP) has asked the Ministry of Agriculture, especially the Fisheries Advisory Committee (FAC) and the Guyana Fisheries Restricted Board (GFLB), to investigate the effects of low-level oil exploration. of custody.
GATOSP President Ruben Charles made comments during a meeting with stakeholders in the fishing industry and the Agriculture Minister on Tuesday.
“A lot of things have happened and I’m glad I’m in a position to say something about the future of the industry. Our organization, the Traders’ Association is experiencing some difficulty now in terms of catch levels and members of that association, without any scientific guidance, attribute that to oil drilling out there. One of the things we would look for is to see how we can carry out some investigation to prove if that is the case, ”said Charles.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha promised that the low custody issues will be addressed, adding that the Board and the committee have the full support of the Ministry in making representation for studies to be undertaken to determine whether oil exploration activities really affect the sector and a sustainable decision and way forward for the sector.
The Minister said that over the next five years, Guyana’s fisheries industry will realize its full potential as the government continues to direct its efforts towards policy-making aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the sector. He added that, over the years, fisheries have evolved into one of the biggest income earners for the economy, raking in about $ 16B in 2020.
“We all know how important the fishing industry is in supporting our country’s economy and the government has been putting a lot of effort and resources into the sector. It contributes nearly 12 per cent to the agricultural GDP, provides employment with over 15,000 people directly employed in the industry, and generates large incomes, especially in the rural areas across our country, Said Mustapha.
During the meeting on Tuesday, the Minister accused the FAC and GFLB of examining issues faced in the sector and providing recommendations to move the sector forward.