Fishing industry contributes 3% to Guyana’s GDP – Min Mustapha

– as World Fisherfolk Day observed

The Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday joined the rest of the world in observing Fisherfolk Day under the theme “Promoting Social Responsibility to Safeguard Fisheries Resources and Livelihoods.” The event was held at the Georgetown Cricket Club grounds which saw less participation when compared to previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the event, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha reported that the fishing industry contributes 3 per cent to Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and $11.3 billion to Guyana’s export, which is 6 per cent of total exports.
He further revealed that over 15,000 persons are directly and indirectly employed by the fisheries industry.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation representative, Dr Gillian Smith noted, “it comes here in 2021 when things have not been easy and despite this fact, fisherfolk continue to work arduously.” Citing the theme, she stated that it also promotes “social responsibility that safeguards the fish stocks on which we all are dependent”.
President of the Guyana Association of Trawler Owners and Seafood Processors Reuben Charles related that these are serious times and changes have been and have to be made in order to keep the industry alive.
“The Association always likes to boast that unlike the sugar and rice industry, they (Fisheries Industry) receive little to no aid and they market their own products,” Charles added.
However, in responding to Charles, Minister Mustapha pointed out that there are processes and procedures that need to be followed in order to access governmental aid, and moving forward letters for aid should be addressed to the Ministers directly so that there can be swift actions in providing the necessary assistance.
In 2020, Guyana produced more than 34,000 metric tons of seafood. Due to the weather conditions and the effects of COVID-19, work has been a bit slow, but fishermen across the country still managed to provide for the country and ensure the security of the industry.