Today, scores of fisherfolk from across the country gathered at the Lusignan Community Center Ground to celebrate National Fisherfolk Day 2023.
This year, the event was observed under the theme “One Ocean, One Planet, One Plate: Improving Aquatic Food Standards and Ocean Health”.
While offering remarks at an exercise hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Fisheries Department, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha thanked Guyana’s fisherfolk for their invaluable contribution to Guyana’s economy and the population’s nutritional intake.
While highlighting the fact that fishing remains an extremely dangerous profession, Minister Mustapha commended fishers for the sacrifices they continue to make for their families and the country, by braving the oceans to earn a living.
The minister also said that sustainable fishing was the foundation of maintaining healthy oceans which contributes to the quality of aquatic food.
Minister Mustapha also spoke about the collaborative efforts between the ministry and organizations like the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to provide technical guidance to support a sustainable fisheries sector. Furthermore, he said that the government has executed a number of infrastructural at the various landing sites to assist fisherfolk with their daily operations.
“With the FAO, we have projects addressing the sustainability of resources through the FISH4ACP Project, the distribution of safety equipment, and the generation of a Fisheries Department Information System. The WWF in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has also provided the Government of Guyana with a National Plan of Action for Illegal, Unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing,” the minister said.
To improve the social conditions at landing sites, he said over $300 million was spent to construct washroom facilities, sheds, storerooms, ramps, installation of solar lights, rehabilitation of wharves, and construction of an office building at #79 for the Upper Corentyne Fishermen Cooperative.
The minister said government’s efforts will continue along this trajectory to ensure a diversified economy is maintained.
Fisheries constitutes 3% of Guyana’s agriculture GDP and contributes approximately G$11.95 billion to Guyana’s exports, which represents about 6% of Guyana’s total exports.
Additionally, about 15,000 persons are directly and indirectly employed by the fisheries industry.
In 2022, Guyana produced more than 33,500 metric tonnes of seafood of which Guyanese are said to consume approximately 35 kg or 74 lbs. of seafood per person annually which is more than twice the world’s average.