Fishery products took on increasing importance during the 1980s as potential earners of foreign exchange. By the end of the decade, shrimp had become the third leading earner of foreign exchange after sugar and bauxite. Fisheries production in Guyana totaled about 36,000 tons in 1989, down from 45,000 tons in the mid-1980s. The most valuable portion of the catch was the 3,800 tons of shrimp. Many fishermen reportedly sold their shrimp catch at sea to avoid taxes and earn foreign currency. Thus, shrimp exports may have been much higher than recorded. Shrimp exports were expected to continue increasing as Guyana developed shrimp farms along its coast; Guysuco began operating one such farm in the late 1980s. The bulk of the fisheries catch was sold at the dockside and consumed domestically. A US$5 million fish-processing plant was under construction on the Demerara River in 1990, raising the possibility of frozen fish exports. The government sold Guyana Fisheries Limited, which employed about 5,000 people, to foreign investors in 1990.
|Country Studies main page | Guyana Country Studies main page|