Number 66 Fishermen’s Co-op introducing scientific ways of fishing

first_imgThe Number 66 Fishermen’s Co-op Society is trying to introduce scientific ways of fishing. This is being done with the use of water-testing devices to test the acidity of the water, the amount of oxygen present in the water and its solidity. The project will also see fisher-folk using Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Number 66 Fishermen’s Co-op Chairman Parmeshwar Jainarine said that fish catch had been on the decline and fishers are spending more days out at sea.“We do not have any data as to whether we have been over-fishing or if we have been fishing in such a way that we have been putting pressure on our fishing stock so that they are not regenerating,” Jainarine recently said.With this in mind, the Co-op has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to ensure fisher-folk have the relevant skills and equipment to provide the information which will be able to address their concerns.The project will see fisher-folk being equipped with GPS and water-testing kits.Speaking with this publication on Friday when the devices were handed over to the fisher-folk— after they were trained to use them— Jainarine said the aim of this project is to train Fishers in the use of GPS.“The handheld device that fishers would use when they go to sea and it will help them to operate in a more efficient manner. It will help them to save fuel, whereby it’s a fishing ground that is profitable. With the features of the GPS, you can go back to the direct spot”.Another benefit of the GPS is in the case of a boat having difficulty at sea, another boat will be able to rescue them quickly by knowing the exact position of the boat.“At present, when a boat is having distress at sea, there is nothing in place to assist. The rescuer would just drive until they find the boat, but with the GPS, they can go to the exact position of assistance. GPS is the modern way to navigate the sea. Years ago, fishers did not have this technology”.He said that management has now seen it fit to train fisher-folk to be able to use the devices with the hope that they will share the knowledge with all the fishers.The programme also has a third aspect, which will see fisher-folk being trained to record data as they catch.According to Jainarine, Guyana has a data collection problem.“The current system has a lot of gaps. The Fisheries Department is understaffed; the country is so large that the landing sites are so scattered, so it is a challenge to collect information on the amount of fish that has been caught on a daily basis”.The current system being used by the Fisheries Department allows officers to go to landing sites once per month and get an average to record as the month’s catch.Jainarine felt that this is wrong.“You cannot come once a month and collect data and then come up with an estimate of the total cash for the month from records of that one day. That is wrong. With this system that we are planning to implement, fishers will be filing logbooks daily. When they pick up the scene, they will record in the log book the amount of fish they caught. And when they come in to the landing site, they will give us, the management, this information so that we can have it documented,” he contended.This information is likely to be used by researchers who will be able to use the information to have an indication of whether they have been over-fishing or fishing in a way that the fish stock is not being replenished.“Sometimes we could be catching the fishes with eggs and we have to desist from all of those practices,” Jainarine said.According to him, the data to be collected could be used by scientists with an aim of being able to use it advise whether to restrict the amount of boats or to fish only in certain areas. At the end of the training, fishers will be allowed to keep the devices. They are being encouraged to share with other fisher-folk and also to teach others how to use the devices. Jainarine said within the next six months, it is hoped that the second project of a similar nature will commence, hitting another group of fishers. The co-op has an excess of 500 fisher-folk. The project, which falls under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grant Programme, also saw a 10-tonne ice-making machine.National Coordinator for the programme, Patrick John explained that the previous ice-making machine used by the Number 66 Fisherman’s Co-op used dangerous gases. The Fisheries Department provided training on the water-testing kits and the Coast Guard provided training on the use of GPS at Friday’s one-day training session.A total of 30 kits and 30 GPS were given to the fisher-folk. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more