In observance of Fisherfolk Day 2018, the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder maintained his ministry’s commitment to the fishing industry.
“Let me assure that this government will always recognise your sterling contribution to the economy and to our food and nutrition security. We are committed to working with you to ensure that you will continue to provide an amazing food product caught in our maritime waters,” Minister Holder said at the Mahaicony Community Centre today.
He told the fishermen and women present that the sector is very important to Guyana’s economy and pointed out that it contributed greatly to Guyana’s exports, earning over $17.5B while employing over 15,000 persons directly and indirectly. The sector also makes up around 32% of CARICOM’s production.
The theme for this year’s Fisherfolk Day is “Our Ocean Our Future – Monitoring and regulating our fishing activities to ensure sustainable production, our contribution to zero hunger”. However, the minister modified this a little saying that it all leads up to a choice of promoting and strengthening sustainable ocean-based economies. “We must choose to do the correct things, choose to use sustainable practices to harvest our fish so that through our actions, future generations will be assured that their livelihoods will be sustained for decades to come.”
He further said that to promote sustainable activities the laws, regulations and policies must be adhered to so that the sector could be successfully monitored, thereby ensuring fishers are fulfilling their obligations and authorities are able to hold people accountable.
In reference to the recent ban imposed by the United States on Guyana’s catfish products, Holder said this called for an adjustment of Guyana’s regulations to meet those of importing countries, and that compliance with those would be integral to the sector which exports over 60% of its catch.
The event attracted fisher folk from places as far afield as Charity, Essequibo, and No.66 Village Berbice.