Fishy business – Stabroek News

I have a valuable but diminishing jar of dried Guyanese salty sea which I save for subtle use in cooking.

Brought by generous relatives when they visited a pre-COVID-19 lock, it came in a batch wrapped of vital national supplies including my favorite gray snapper fried in juicy, fatty, juicy chunks that quickly disappeared ; fiery red red pickle balls of the delicately flavored veri-checker peppers that lasted only a little longer and of course the classic Christmas classic dense cassareep native of the Northwest area, I still hide in the darkest depths of my kitchen cupboard . .

Guyana is the world’s largest producer of delicious Atlantic shrimp, commercially important golden brown decapod crustaceans caught in marine and salty waters off the continental United States, all the way down to rich shorelines South America. Our annual harvest of some 20 000 tonnes of fast growing shrimp is worth an estimated US $ 50M, making it the country’s most valuable seafood export and among the top economic contributors in the country. according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) figures from the United Nations.

I knew it as “coarse shrimp” by reference to its size and we would buy it, not frozen in a gray slab, unknown from supermarkets but fresh and firm in scattered, steaming tips from the fishmongers in our markets famous coastal. We will race to finish “cleaning” the shrimp for a fragrant “curry” or dry curry; or an Asian meal with an Asian sauce with ginger, garlic and chilli, or to taste a simmering pot of “cooking rice”. After all, Guyanese love their seafood and remain a cheap, ready source of protein. Most of the industrial catch is processed into frozen peeled shrimp while still products like the small but sweet white belly shrimp are sold here and used as it is. ‘ to dry in the sun and smoked by wood. Seabob shrimp is a fast growing species with a typical life span of 18 months. Guyana whale is caught by bottom trawls and shrimp.

It was only last year that the highly regarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in London, an independent, not-for-profit organization setting standards for sustainable fishing, formally certified the local shrimp fishery with the giant “Xiphopenaeus kroyeri”. ”In the Mid-Atlantic West. The expert assessment was requested by the Guyana Seafood Merchants and Processors Owners Association (GATOSP) in 2018 following a Fisheries Enhancement Project begun in 2012.

Forced to adapt to the changing requirements of environmentally conscious consumers in key international markets, the Association recognized the growing importance of the distinctive MSC blue ecolabel that identifies all seafood products from supply chains. vetting. There are now thousands of items available with the stamp, sold in at least 100 countries around the world

A week ago, the MSC urgently called for international action to protect Atlanto-Scandinavian herring and blues after MSC certification was effectively suspended at the end of this month. Assessors highlighted the failure of states including within the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, and the United Kingdom, to reach quota and fish sharing agreements within scientifically advised limits. The Council noted that the situation was exacerbated by the volatile migration of stocks in the North East Atlantic.

Only four months after the People ‘s / Civic Progressive Party (PPP / C) finally took office following the long election rigging fiasco, the Guyana Society is raising public sentiment over the prominent fishy business outside back to issue two new dredging licenses in confidence, from the Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, which the group maintains could degrade the industry. Stabroek News reported that the licenses appeared to have been issued to an anonymous local company funded by a large Chinese company.

Pointing to a decline in marine harvesting, GATOSP warned that clandestine licensing is a threat to the sustainability of the industry and is in breach of the agreements they have with the Ministry and the MSC. The three largest processing facilities employ about 1 600 individuals, 45 percent of whom are women.

However, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha wants us to believe that he is largely offshore and probably needs time to propagate, as he advised the newspaper that he is currently collecting the all the necessary information and that he will make a statement soon on the matter, in promise to meet GATOSP soon.

The “2019 stock assessment of Guyana’s zebra population revealed that it was healthy but fully exploited,” the FAO Regional Office emphasized in a recent statement announcing the launch of its FISH4ACP program to boost the competitiveness and sustainability of the sector, citing local demand. it is expected to increase with the emerging oil and gas output. MSC certification will help consolidate existing markets and facilitate access to new ones, he said.

“The continued success of the marine industry therefore depends on strong management of the natural resources stock for sustainability, reducing waste and harmful practices, maintaining competitiveness in the global market, and close cooperation and partnership from key stakeholders. The success of all stakeholders depends very much on sustainable practices by everyone in the industry, ”the FAO asserted in a related statement on its website.

It collaborates with the Department of Fisheries, University of Guyana, and others to gather information on the major environmental, economic, and social challenges of the sea fishery. The FISH4ACP is an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States Organization (OACPS), which focuses on 12 such fisheries and aquaculture value chains to promote economic returns and social benefits, and minimize damage to natural habitats and marine wildlife. It is operated by the FAO with funding from the European Union and the German Federal Administration for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ).

The loss of the May 2015 elections by the PPP / C to the APNU + AFC coalition put an end to that alarming attempt by foreigners to dominate the key industry, by proposing a US $ 70M investment by Chinese fishing company Fuzhou Hong- a Pelagic Fishery dong to operate 30 deep sea fishing boats comprising 120ft trailers and drift nets, two auxiliary boats and an onshore storage and forwarding facility. It has also asked for a range of concessions and tax reliefs.

The then Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, had insisted that no such Chinese group be given permission. “No open fishing license is issued. If given, it will be for specific species, ”he added. All overseas licenses are normally dealt with at Ministerial level.

Earlier, a Chinese company interested in deep-sea fishing had signed a Memo-randum of Understanding to conduct a study of fish species available here that are not already harvested by local fishermen and trawl operators. Dr. Ramsammy, “We have made it very clear that we are not going to be issuing any licenses for prawns and carrots. If they contain we will not allow it. ”

Arousing heavy criticism from interest groups, the reports were hammered by others, the Guyana Human Rights Association who said that the Minister “considering licensing Chinese fishing vessels to operate in Guyana waters is yet another example of Guyana’s natural resources being partnered to away to Chinese interests with no reference to the people most directly affected, or the environmental effects. “

With 87 licensed trailers, and about 300 artisanal net vessels, already operating our depleted fishing zones north of Region One, offshore Georgetown, and the Corentyne River, established operators and processors are entitled to not accepting a smelly pile of carp and worried that they were not denied the first choice to reapply as they had cut their operations by nearly a third.

As Managing Director of Gopie Investments, Raoul Gopie noted that “the evidence shows that we are a bit overfished but we are still sustainable” declaring in the regulated sector, “We are harvesting exactly what is being reproduced . If something went wrong and that could quickly suggest … ”Just like my shrimp jar.

ID overlooks the Galápagos Islands where a Chinese armada of 300 ships recorded 73,000 hours in just one month this year as it pulled thousands of tons of squid and fish, sparking controversy and anger in Ecuador.