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We are indeed heartened by the certification, which once again paves the way for the unhindered export of our shrimp and other seafood products to the US.
Being mindful of the importance of this sector to the local economy, the Ministry of Fisheries, Crop and Livestock moved some four years ago to put mechanisms in place to satisfy the requirements including the installation of turtle excluder devices (TED) on shrimp boats.
Noteworthy is the fact that over the years, the Ministry has employed various devices, including the hiring of permanent TED inspectors at all ports to ensure the installation of the turtle excluder devices on all boats leaving and entering Port Georgetown.
It should also be noted here that the Ministry also works closely with the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society, and whenever there is closed season (nesting time), fishermen are barred from fishing in the Shell Beach area.
Members of the media were informed of the certification following a brief meeting Wednesday between the US Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Ronald Godard and Minister of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock, Mr. Satyadeow Sawh. At the meeting, which was conducted at the Vlissengen Road Offices of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ambassador was accompanied by his Political Officer, Mr. Daniel Daley, while Permanent Secretary Bhowan Balkarran accompanied Minister Sawh.
We note with satisfaction that the US Ambassador was loud in his praise for Guyana’s efforts in preserving its environment and marine life while exploiting its resources.
In this regard we feel the Government should take full advantage of the certification and set the pace to redouble efforts to strengthen the industry.
In the past, sea turtles have been coming under severe threat by seamen because of their methods employed while shrimping at sea.
We believe that the latest certification by the United States Department of Agriculture permitting Guyana to continue exporting seafood products to the US testifies to the unrelenting efforts by our Ministry of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock to comply with internationally accepted standards.
We believe that it is important for us to continue keeping high standards that match the international market, because we depend so much on our exports for much needed foreign exchange, and especially at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with the global economy.
Because of its importance, not only as a foreign exchange earner, but also as a source of cheap food for us, and employment for many Guyanese, we are obliged to make sure that this sector continues to play its role, and at the same time adhere to internationally accepted standards.
We note with interest the growth in this sector year after year and appreciate the work done by the Ministry to keep it afloat while at the same time maintaining the standards required for our continued presence on the US and other markets.
In light of the continued frightening growth of the world’s population, we recognise that countries will have great difficulty in feeding their people in the coming decades.
Guyana must not wait for this scary scenario to come upon us. Instead, we must move to exploit our resources more intelligently in order to enhance our capability to feed ourselves and earn increased foreign exchange.
All we need to do is to continue playing the game by the rules. Once we continue doing this we would be better off by far than most nations when the population explosion manifests itself.