Guyana has achieved a 100 per cent pass for the Section 609 Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Inspections for the first time, with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha on Wednesday, during the launch of Guyana’s National Action Plan to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The massive achievement comes at a time when the Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led Administration continues to invest heavily in proactive initiatives to improve marine conservation and compliance within the nation’s seabob industry.
“I am happy to indicate. This is very good for us in Guyana, that our efforts to improve marine conservation and compliance with our seabob fishery continue to be exemplary…Becoming the fourth country to achieve this in our country’s history,” Minister Mustapha highlighted.
For context, research carried out by NOAA in the 1970s and 1980s revealed that one of the main causes of the global reduction in sea turtle populations was accidental drowning in shrimp trawls.
These results led NOAA Fisheries to create Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a type of fishing gear that allows turtles to avoid shrimp trawls and allows shrimpers to keep their catch.
The Guyana Seabob Fishery received conditional Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation in 2019.
Some 87 per cent of all fishing activity is carried out by the 76 licenced trawlers held by the three main industrial businesses and the 11 trawlers that they employ that are owned independently.
The three lead companies in the chain are Gopie Investments Inc (GII), Noble House Seafoods (NHS), and Pritipaul Singh Investments (PSI). Their vertically integrated operations encompass the acquisition of wild shrimp and fish, as well as primary processing and the exportation of frozen peeled shrimp.
These businesses have demonstrated their commitment to improving sustainable fishing practices by meeting MSC and Fisheries Department (FD) standards, to keep their certification.
As a result of the government’s efforts to boost the fishery commodity’s competitiveness and production, Guyana is the world’s top exporter of seabob shrimp.
The goal is to make Guyana a leading exporter of Atlantic seabob shrimp, while protecting the stock’s long-term security and boosting personal wealth in the rapidly growing tourism and oil and gas industries.