In an effort to curb illegal fishing in Guyana’s waters, the Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday signed the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which will see the implementation of measures to battle the scourge.According to the Ministry, the project, valued at US$500,000, is funded by the FAO and includes “technical assistance” and a “monitoring and evaluation process”. It is expected to be completed within the next 18 months.The Agriculture Ministry noted that once the measures were implemented, Guyana would “benefit tremendously” as the PSMA would ensure that the country maintained its fish stock.“Guyana will now be able to integrate and coordinate fisheries [and] related Port State Measures with the broader system of Port State controls,” a release from the Agriculture Ministry stated.Agriculture Ministry Permanent Secretary George Jervis was said to have expressed gratitude to the FAO, noting that the intervention was “timely”.“The fishing industry is one of the most important contributing sectors to Guyana’s revenue as the country exports more than 60 per cent of its catch. This industry is responsible for the livelihood of approximately 15,000 persons and their families,” the statement added.FAO Country Representative to Guyana, Reuben Robertson explained that the Organisation would be giving technical assistance in the implementation of measures against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.“IUU fishing hinders the growth of developing countries such as Guyana. This agreement is considered as one of the most cost-effective and useful enforcement tools for combating IUU fishing. It significantly reduces the need for surveillance and inspection of fishing vessels at sea in favour of inspections at port,” he stated.Earlier this year, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had revealed that in 2015, the marine sub-sector produced “35,835MT (metric tonnes) of seafood, raised revenue to the sum of G$25,426,250 and recorded exports of 21,568MT or US$71 million (G$14.7Billion)”.With the implementation of this agreement, it is envisaged that the sub-sector would increase its financial contribution to the economy. To date, 33 States, including the US, Canada and France have already signed on to the PSMA.