Guyana: Must use vessel monitoring

Spate of pirate attacks on fishermen prompts move.

Fishermen must install monitoring systems or be refused a licence – Minister Ramsammy- to help minimize piracy

Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy said trawler owners will be denied a fishing licence unless they are in possession of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), while in 2015, artisanal fishermen will have to be in possession of a Global Positioning System (GPS) in order to be granted a licence.

This, Dr. Ramsammy explained will also help to solve a bigger problem. “There is the allegation that big boats come and meet the fishermen and trawlers out at sea to take away the fish so Guyana does not benefit.”

He however, added that the extent of this alleged act is not known, but will be with the installation of the VMS tracking device. In addition, installation of VMS will also solve the problem of trawlers getting into the track of the artisanal fishermen and destroying their fish nets.

Further, the Ministry of Agriculture will work along with the Ministry of Home Affairs on an aggressive anti-piracy programme.

The Minister urged that all fishermen get licenced, and explained that though they ask for increased coast guard presence, they are not happy when coast guards ask to look at their licence to ensure they are fishing legally.

He stated that some fishermen fish without a licence and practice illegal methods of fishing. Dr. Ramsammy further explained that coast guards will not only be present at sea to help prevent piracy, but will also check with fishermen for their licence to ensure they are fishing legally.

“Only about one – third of artisanal (the most targeted group of fishermen for piracy) fishermen are licenced.” he said, while adding that of 87 trawlers operating at sea, more than half have the VMS system.

He urged that artisanal fishermen install GPS systems in their vessels. He said while GPS will be an additional cost to fishermen, he believes it is necessary to save lives and though it will not completely get rid of piracy, it will make the act less frequent.


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