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Guyana, Venezuela to begin talks on treating illegal fishers

Guyanese and Venezuelan officials are preparing to formally crafting rules on how illegal fishermen and their vessels should be treated when caught in each other’s waters, officials said Wednesday.

Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) was told that the two sides have been exploring September 26 as a possible date for technical teams of the neighbouring South American countries to hold their first round of talks.

Guyana and Venezuela signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2010 to establish a joint committee that would draft an agreement for the processing and detention of fishing vessels and crew members. Among the areas that the two sides hope to capture in the agreement are the duration of detention in a centre, whether they should be kept in a cell or on the intercepted vessel and how should the catch be disposed.
 
Asked why the need for an agreement although there are laws governing illegal fishing,
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon said certain elements were not captured in the legislative framework. “These matters are not explicitly addressed in legislation on either side and obviously it is an awareness that such details need to be considered and to be brought to the level of a bilateral agreement that has given rise to this thrust to have an understanding, an agreement bilaterally shared on how we implement the laws that currently exist,” he said.

Luncheon said the MoU and agreement had nothing to do with Venezuelan vessels and crew fishing off the coast of the Essequibo Region which is being claimed by the western neighbour.

For several months now, no foreign vessel has been intercepted for fishing illegally in Guyanese waters.