Local fisheries, aquaculture industry gets $349.6M for expansion

The Government of Guyana has set aside $349.6 million in its 2023 budget to support the further development of the local fisheries and aquaculture industry.

Importantly, the financial injection will facilitate a major expansion of the evolving brackish water shrimp project and the establishment of new vannamei shrimp farms.

$349.6M for expansion of local fisheries, aquaculture industry

The PPP/C Administration sees the fisheries sector as an important source of livelihood, employment, food and nutrition for a large number of Guyanese.

Like many countries worldwide, in recent times, Guyana’s fishing industry has been hit hard by the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and changing weather patterns.

Recognising the importance of the sector, the government made swift moves to craft the shrimp project, providing resources to several farmers along the Corentyne coast.

The investment created new jobs, boosted the economy, and helped to ensure Guyanese have access to a reliable and sustainable source of seafood.

The pilot project started in July 2021, with 75 interested farmers in the ancient county.

In the beginning, the farmers were producing just about 10,000 kilogrammes of shrimp monthly but June 2022 proved to be a massive success, with a production of 70,000 kilogrammes of shrimp.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the flagship initiative is another aggressive move by the Administration to increase food production, thereby reducing CARICOM’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.

“We have seen several persons now working in the industry. These regional farmers had these farms. We developed them. They now want more workers. This is the kind of way how the benefit is extending to the rural population in those communities, ”the minister said during an interview.

The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) also continues to play a major role in the different phases of the project.

Providing additional support to the industry, the government also reversed increases in licensing fees and removed taxes on fishing equipment and distributed over $1 billion in cash grants to 7,518 fisherfolk.

Accordingly, the agriculture minister held several consultations with stakeholders, while technical support was given to promote innovation and productivity within the marine and aquaculture industries.

Further, an aquaculture committee has been established to improve coordination in the sector.

The government also established five fish cages in Capoey and Lake Mainstay villages.

In 2023, an additional 53 cages will be operationalised.