President, Irfaan Ali disclosed this week that the government, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture, will soon engage stakeholders in the fishing industry on a pilot marine cage project to address the depleting fish stock.

Marine cage aquaculture involves growing fishes in the sea while being enclosed in a net cage which allows the free flow of water. It is a production system comprising of a floating frame of varying dimensions and shape, net materials and mooring system, to hold and culture a large number of fishes.

As he spoke about the new initiative to be pursued, Ali said, “We are not sitting back and being an observer to the discussion on the reduced fish catch out there…There is no political direction or directive for the fish not to come here. There is a global issue but how will we address it?”

In this regard, Ali said the government has started in Region Six with a project for swamp shrimp adding that the prefeasibility study has been completed for the growing of prawns and tilapia in a controlled but natural environment.

The Head of State explained, “We have already identified 100 acres of land for the prawn production that would give us enough capacity to ensure production that would take care of the existing demand. Then in Hinterland communities, we are looking at marine cages in the rivers where the water is flowing, so we can grow tilapia in a more natural environment which reduces the cost of operations.”

He said a similar initiative would be taken to fisherfolk in the city and Berbice. He said the Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha would lead discussions on this front.

Ali said he is excited about the prospects as each cage, based on preliminary estimates, can rake in as much as $8M in profits. “That way, you can pay back the investment within 6 months. So we are not sitting back and being an observer to this discussion. We have a responsibility to find solutions. That is what your government is doing,” the Head of State concluded.


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