Fisheries represent a substantial and very valuable source of food, employment, income, recreation and foreign exchange. Fisheries of the Guianas are highly productive however shrimp and whitefish resources are generally fully or over-exploited. Excessive bycatch (non-target fish species, marine turtles, Guiana dolphins, sharks and rays) and destructive fishing practices are of concern. There are several underlying factors for this unsustainable exploitation: (1) the large marine area to be policed with inadequate resources for monitoring, control and surveillance; (2) the transboundary nature of fish stocks and fishing fleets; and (3) the high demand for whitefish and shrimp for local consumption and export. In recent years, the high demand for fish bladder has further increased the pressure on fisheries resources and bycatch species, as it drives wasteful fishing practices. Marine turtles, Guiana dolphins and sharks and rays are prone to bycatch in fisheries. Since these species are predominantly slow-growing, late-maturing and long-lived they are vulnerable to overexploitation and slow to recover. Survival of large juveniles and sexually mature adults is critical to maintenance or recovery of these populations and there is currently insufficient data on bycatch of ETP and non-target fish species across the Guianas.
Areas of focus:
Reduce by-catch of Endangered Threatened and Protected (ETP) species and non-targeted fish species in selected fisheries
MSC certification of seabob trawl fisheries and suitable artisanal fisheries
Address IUU in the marine fishery sector
Reduce overfishing by improving stock assessments, monitoring and enforcement practices