Guyana recertified to export shrimp to US
April 11, 2007
Guyana has been recertified to export shrimp to the USA following an assessment of the trawlers' operations and practices by a US Turtle Excluder Device (TED) team in February.
The Government Information Agency (GINA) said the recertification came after the TED team found that this country complied with all the requirements set by the US for importation of shrimp into that country. The agriculture ministry said more than 70% of the shrimp harvested in Guyana's EEZ is exported to the US and this recertification will ensure that the fishing industry continues to export shrimp and shrimp-products to this lucrative market. Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said the US is Guyana's largest shrimp export market and more than 17,000 tonnes of shrimp is exported annually, representing exports of over 90 per cent of this resource harvested in Guyana.
The government has also given assurances that it would continue to comply and enforce the TED programme to prevent any accidental drowning of turtles in shrimp nets. GINA quoted Persaud, at a media briefing yesterday, saying that the ministry would continue to work with trawler operators to ensure compliance with regulations. He said plans were in place in this regard, to restructure the Fisheries Department to better manage the sector and monitoring at sea.
According to GINA Economic and Commercial Officer at the US Embassy in Guyana, Nancy Long, based on the team's assessment, the National Marine Fisheries Service indicated that Guyana's trawlers were adhering to necessary protocol and practices that were instituted by government several years ago. The report also said that inspectors were well trained and helping trawlers' operations to be compliant. Long commended the stakeholders for this achievement which she said was due to excellent training.
The ministry said since the TED programme was introduced in Guyana in 1997, six inspectors have been trained and are stationed at the various wharfs to ensure that trawler operators use the TEDs effectively.
The government has also revised regulations under the new Fisheries Act to ensure better practices at sea by shrimpers; harsher penalties have been enforced for errant shrimpers. The fishing industry and the Fisheries Department are also working to replace the steel TEDs being used with an aluminium substitute since these do not rot easily and will last longer. The Department is also considering introducing inspections at sea to effectively manage the programme.