Marine cages for ‘cage culture’ trial expected by the end of September – Min. Mustapha

Guyana will soon be one step closer to boosting its aquaculture sector with the commencement of its ‘Cage Culture’ initiative expected to start sometime in October of this year.

This was disclosed by Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha who said that the first set of marine cages should be arriving in Guyana before the end of September.

“We purchased four marine cages from a company in Brazil to commence the trial of our marine cage initiative. Once those cages arrive, we will begin almost immediately with the trial. It will take about six or seven weeks to assess the progress made with the trial but given the research done on the project and the training that our officers received from the Chinese Government, I am very optimistic that this trial will be very successful and that we will be able to move forward and have more persons come on board,” Minister Mustapha said.

Minister Mustapha further stated that two areas in Region Two had been earmarked with three species of fish being identified for the trial.

“So, we’ve identified two areas in Region Two to do the trials. Capoey and Lake Mainstay. We’ve also identified Tambaqui, Mullet, and Tilapia for the initial phase of the project given the demand for these species and the high prices they attract. As I mentioned before, our officers received some amount of virtual training back in June that was organized by the Chinese Embassy and we are looking to have another round of training sometime next year. When the cages arrive and are installed, we’ll have some physical training done by the supplier and then go straight into the trials,” the minister explained.

Upon assuming office, the government had announced that it was exploring the possibility of introducing cage culture given the impact climate change is having on the global fisheries sector.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, had said his government is moving ahead with the rollout of a number of innovative solutions, to ensure the livelihood of fisherfolk is maintained.

Local fishermen were also suffering from low catches which further prompted the government to conceptualize innovative ways of expanding the sector. 

“We are not sitting back. We have a responsibility to find solutions and that is what we are doing. We are working every single day on finding innovative solutions,” the Head of State emphasized.

President Ali had said that a marine cage project would soon be established, which will guarantee fisherfolk close to $8 million annually. 

“When you examine the numbers, each one of those marine cages can bring in a net value of close to $8 million annually. And you could payback for the investments within six months,” Dr. Ali explained.

He said communities within the hinterland district will also benefit from the major intervention.

“Then in hinterland community, we are looking at [installing]marine cages in the rivers where the water is flowing so that we can grow tilapia there in a more natural environment.”

The initiative, President Ali noted, will assist with the reduction of operation costs. He said profits gained will meaningfully enhance the livelihood of residents throughout the district.

A marine cage is a system set up in lakes, reservoirs or ponds to confine fishes. It allows water to pass freely between the fish and surrounding water resources, thus maintaining good water quality and removing waste.