Fisherfolks in Essequibo believes that the fate of the industry in that county is filled with uncertainty as they are now complaining of being unable to earn a decent income monthly compared to previously.
Speaking with several of them earlier this week, at Birdie Wharf, Charity, the fisherfolk related that their catch has been significantly depleted over the last few months and depletion seems to be getting worst.
Usually, large fishing vessels within Region 2 would cover fishing grounds from the Pomeroon River Mouth to the Waini River while the smaller vessels usually cast just off the Coast.
“Before… we use to catch like 3000 pounds snapper every sixteen days, now we can’t even make a 1000 pounds within the same period.” one fisherman told BIG Smith News Watch.
According to him, he has been in the fishing business for more than fourteen years and the consistent decline in their catch at sea is not something he has witnessed prior.
“The workmen use to make eighty thousand to ninety thousand dollars, now, they don’t even draw a 20k or a 30k for twenty days… Some days they don’t make anything, is the lil fish and lil ration… that is what they gotta make up and carry home. I ain’t know nothing more but fishing work… me got wife and children to maintain.” the fisherman explained to this publication.
Another fisherman who operates a small vessel off the Essequibo Coast said that from 1500 pounds, his monthly catch now averages between 500 and 600 pounds.
BIG Smith News Watch was told that it costs an estimated $25 to $30 million to invest into a fishing vessel. Preparation for sea on the other hand, requires an additional five hundred thousand to six hundred thousand per trip. Investors are fearful that they may soon have to drop out of the industry, as they are barely keeping their noses above the water.
The government recently cited overfishing as one of the reasons behind the rapid decline in fish. Fishermen, however, believe that the extraction of crude may be the reason for the decline in fish.
An article published by the US Fish and Wildlife Service reported that “Operation and maintenance of oil and gas equipment and facilities may impact wildlife. The equipment generates noise that may disturb wildlife and nesting.”
These new challenges have already affected the local fish markets as fish prices have increased.