FAO study finds climate change, not oil exploration, responsible for reduced fish catch in Guyana
The Guyanese government said on Friday that a study undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)) found that climate change rather than oil exploration is the main reason for the reduction in fish catches in the country.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, speaking on News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM, said “during this period when we had the low catches, this refers to the same type of problem we had with the climate change, and we had heavy rains.
“Freshwater would have driven fish out of these normal fishing grounds,” he said, citing the FAO study as one of the benefits of Guyana’s membership in the international body.
He said the evidence showed there was an increase in the supply of fish again and the as yet unpublished study had not found oil exploration and production to be among the reasons given for the decline in fish catches.
“Nothing was mentioned about it. I want to be very frank, and you can also confirm that with the FAO,” he said.
Local fishermen had complained of a dramatic reduction in fish catches and claimed that pollution and noise from the oil industry were driving marine life off the coast of Guyana.
But Mustapha told radio listeners that fish processors had reported an increase in catches. “We are seeing a trend that things are starting to go up,” he added.
Speaking later at the signing of two agreements for the FAO-Guyana Country Program 2022-2026, he said follow-up work on the draft fisheries report was underway.
“When we sign these agreements, we are prioritizing what is important to us as a government and as a ministry and that is what we are asking FAO to work with us, as a government, for us. help implement,” he said.
The thematic areas of the FAO-Guyana Country Program 2022-2026 are transformation towards more sustainable agricultural food systems, resilient value chains and farming communities with enhanced disaster risk management capacity, increased use of digitalization and information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the efficiency and competitiveness and risk reduction of the agricultural food system.
The second agreement is a Memorandum of Responsibilities signed between the FAO Assistant Director-General, Julio Berdegué, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd. This agreement is tied to Guyana hosting the 38th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2024.