Last Updated on Friday, 30 June 2023, 17:27 by Denis Chabrol
China is set to train several Guyanese fisherfolk in cage fishing, a novel technique in this South America nation, to further increase fish production, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha said Friday.
He told a ceremony in observation of National Fisherfolk Day 2023 at the Lusignan Community Centre Ground that the time has come to change fishing techniques due to the adverse impact of climate change. “Very shortly, we will have some fisherfolk go for training in China and when they come back here we’ll form groups,” Mr Mustapha said.
The Agriculture Minister said 30 persons are expected to begin training by the end of July, 2023.
Cage fishing pilot projects, he said, were underway at Lake Mainstay and Lake Capoey, Essequibo Coast with the use of 50 fishing cages that have been donated by the Chinese Embassy. President Irfaan Ali first floated the idea of cage fishing more than one year ago, prompting some degree of skepticism but the evidence already shows that it will be work in Guyana. “We have seen it starting to work and it will be successful,” he said.
Mr Mustapha promised the fisherfolk that government would assist them to construct ponds rather than only going out in the ocean for catches. “We have to diversify, we have to change the way we do things,” the minister.
The fisheries sector accounts for 3 percent of Guyana’s agriculture Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GY$11.9 billion worth of exports or about 6 percent of the country’s total exports. In 2022, Guyana produced more than 33,500 metric tonnes of seafood.
An estimated 15,000 persons are employed directly and indirectly by the fisheries sector. On the consumption side, official figures show that Guyanese consume 35 kilogrammes (74 pounds) of seafood per person annually which is more than twice the global average.