Fishing industry ‘nets’ $16.2B in Guiana

GEORGETOWN, Jan 8, 2021, Guyana Cronicle: The “rough tides” of 2020 were not enough to restrict progress in the fishing industry, which remained resilient throughout the year and even managed to secure revenue in excess of $16 billion. Ecological challenges compounded by a protracted electoral process and a global pandemic made last year no easy one for stakeholders in the fishing industry, but, in the end, the traditional aspect of this industry raked in $16,033,405,740, while aquaculture mustered $207,251,016. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), in Guyana, “capture fisheries” is undertaken by artisanal fishers and by an industrial fishing fleet composed of trawlers and hand-liners, including some foreign flagged, licensed vessels.

The organisation said most of Guyana’s fishing effort occurs in the relatively shallow waters of the continental shelf. In 2017, the estimated fleet comprised an estimated 1,498 vessels ranging in size from six to twenty-four metres, of which the great majority (83 per cent) were gill netters.
Aquaculture, on the other hand, has been practised for many years using mostly “low-input culture method” in brackish water and freshwater ponds, employing cachama, tilapia, and whiteleg shrimp as the major target species.

The consolidated contribution of both aspects of this industry accounted for two per cent of Guyana’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12 per cent of the agricultural GDP, in 2020. Information shared with the Guyana Chronicle shows that production in the area of marine fisheries was just over 30,000 metric tonnes at the end of November 2020, but was projected to end the year at over 35,000 metric tonnes. Total production was just above 38,000 metric tonnes in 2019. Last year, Guyana produced finfish (artisanal), finfish (industrial), red snapper, prawns, seabob (industrial), whitebelly, seabob (artisanal) and tuna. Of those varieties, finfish raked over $11 billion the most revenue for this industry — while red snapper and seabob each earned stakeholders over $1 billion.

Production, in the aquaculture sector, up to November last year was 121,741 kilograms, but was projected to end the year at 137, 626 kilograms. Total production was just above 246, 919 kilograms in 2019. This sub-sector produces bashaw, black shrimps, hassar, mullet, querriman, tambaqui and tilapia. The aquaculture sector in Guyana is still relatively small, with production occupying only about 350 hectares of land around the country. But, it was reported recently that the Government will be working towards making this sector globally competitive and a key contributor to economic growth, through several initiatives like the expansion of the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station and aquaculture zoning, both on land and in water.

Aquaculture, a component of the agriculture sector, is the process of rearing, breeding and harvesting of aquatic species, both animals and plants, in controlled aquatic environments like the oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams.


“Aquaculture in Guyana shows strong potential since the country has relatively large acres of flat lands with suitable soil types and access to large quantities and good quality freshwater (water conservancies)… moreso there are existing drainage and irrigation infrastructure in some areas, sub-tropical temperatures for shrimp and fish production and good availability of agricultural/ fisheries by-products for the formulation and manufacturing of aqua feed,” Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said in a recent report.

The FAO has already provided US$100,000 to Guyana in 2019, to strengthen the strategic and regulatory framework for inland fisheries and aquaculture development in Guyana. The fisheries department, in collaboration with the FAO, is expected to convert a draft aquaculture regulation to a legal document in 2021. Compliance with this regulation and the relevant authorities like the Environmental Protection Agency, Veterinary Public Health Unit and the Guyana Livestock Development Authority will be requirements for aquaculture operations.

On a wider scale, the Government plans to improve the entire fishing industry through several initiatives, which include the resuscitation of the national fisherfolk organisation, improved fishing and licencing procedures, formation of an aquaculture association and increased monitoring and surveillance of Guyana’s waters.
There are also plans to update the country’s fisheries management plan to cover short-term achievable objectives, and revise the strategic plan for inland fisheries and aquaculture development and management in Guyana (2013-2018).

The fishing industry employs some 8,400 people in harvesting and 5,000 in processing and marketing, so more than 10,000 livelihoods depend directly on fishery, and many more benefit indirectly from fishing-related occupations such as boat building, gear supply and repair.
According to the FAO, a significant number of persons work in processing, distributing and selling fish and fish products in domestic markets. A high proportion of workers in processing, distribution and retail are women, and they are active in harvesting as well.

Flights between French overseas departments French Guiana and Mayotte and the rest of France are prohibited until further notice, due to the high number of Covid-19 cases, according to a new decree published by the French government on Saturday. Flights “are prohibited, unless they are based on a compelling reason of a personal or family order, a health reason…or a professional reason,” according to the decree.

Prime Minister Jean Castex is slated to arrive in French Guiana for a quick one-day visit focused primarily on health issues. French Guiana, located on the northeastern coast of South America, and Mayotte, an island off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, have been hard hit by the coronavirus. According to the French Public Health website, French Guiana has not hit the peak of the outbreak, as the numbers of cases continue to climb, while in Mayotte, the numbers are starting to fall, but the virus remains in high circulation in the area.

French Guiana has 5,178 cases and 21 deaths, while Mayotte has 2,702 cases and more than 30 deaths. The health emergency was extended until 30 October in both French Guiana and Mayotte, while the state of emergency was called off in the rest of France as of Saturday.

French Polynesia affected, too

The decree also refers to the South Pacific, although they have not had a high number of coronavirus cases. Flights are banned to and from French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna, but the decree stipulates that depending on the prefect or the region, this edict can be lifted. French Polynesia is planning to resume international flights as of 15 July, and will be abolishing the two-week quarantine that had been imposed. By Navendra Seoraj

Search for Habitable Worlds Joined by New European Space Telescope

CAYENNE, Dec 18, 2020:: The European Space Agency is continuing the search for new Earths this week with the launch of Cheops, a new telescope whose name stands for CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite. “Cheops will take exoplanet science to a whole new level,” said Günther Hasinger, the agency’s director of science. The spacecraft launched early on Wednesday morning aboard a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It was the second try after Tuesday’s first launch attempt was delayed and some equipment was replaced.

The satellite was lofted toward an unusual pole-to-pole orbit about 500 miles above Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope, by comparison, orbits about 350 miles above the surface, moving from west to east. In a clever bit of celestial engineering, Cheops will circle Earth just along the terminator, the division between day and night down below, with its camera permanently pointed away from the sun, toward the dark.