GUYANA’S fishing industry has been growing rapidly and is an important component in the country’s development; through its vibrancy it has been making a lasting impact on the country’s economy over the past years.
The industry has been playing a significant part in taking the country forward at all levels, and it has paved the way for Guyana to meet the Millennium Development Goals of feeding its people at international standards. This according to Agriculture Minster, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy while addressing the fisherfolk convention last Wednesday at the Guyana International Convention Centre’ Liliendaal, East Coast of Demerara.
The minster pointed out that Guyana has been going places with the development of its people and the country’s economy, with its vibrant fishing industry, and noted that no time will be wasted in ensuring that it is effectively maintained at all levels. “In terms of food security, the fishing industry provides a relatively cheap source of animal protein in the Guyanese diet, an essential element in meeting dietary needs, in meeting the caloric intake and in meeting the balanced meal criteria.”
He highlighted that the industry has also allowed for the creation of jobs in the local markets. “In terms of our economy, the fishing industry provides employment to over 15,000 persons, directly and indirectly. “
Additionally, it also provides significant foreign exchange earnings as it represents an average of just under 3% of GDP. Exports over the past three years have an average value of $10B. According to Dr.Ramsammy, throughout the most recent global food crisis, over the last five years, Guyana has been relatively buffered against food shortages and, unlike most countries; the food price index here has increased within normal rates, as against the phenomenal increases experienced by other countries.
He said, the per capita fish supplied in Guyana exceeds 58 kg, as compared to the approximately 17 kg global average. “This in itself indicates that fishing is important, for it ensures we exceed the fishing needs related to food security requirement in Guyana and provides a genuine growth pole for exports.”
He explained that today, one interesting development is that aquaculture accounts for more than 45% of the global supply.
In Guyana, however, aquaculture has been growing slowly, but still marine and inland captured fish continues to be the major source of fish supply to meet local demand and for exports. In terms of aquaculture, Guyana has reached an average of about 400,000 kg and an export average of about 56,000 kg annually.
“While we can genuinely talk about the successes we have had in fishing, we must acknowledge the growing challenges and the threats that continue to loom over the industry, in Guyana and around the world.”
He further stated that everything will be done to further enhance the fishing industry, since it is an industry that has paved the way for many successes in Guyana.