By Miguel Febles Hernández
Jimaguayú Dam fishing company is taking new courses today. Better winds are blowing there because, little by little, the conditions of life and of work are changing for the fishermen.
Amaury Socarrás Ramírez has not known another work than fishing in the waters of Jimaguayú dam, the biggest reservoir in the province of Camagüey and main source for the capture of aquatic species, representing more than 40 per cent of the productive commitment in this eastren Cuban territory.
He was only 17 years old, when Amaury steped onto a boat for the first time in 1991 to become a professional fisherman. Since then his life has been tied to the art of the nets and the fish traps, up to becoming, for his experience and personal example, one of the cadres of this company.
It is obvious, therefore, than in more than 15 years of arduous fishing chores, Amaury has experienced all kinds of sensations: the incomparable happiness of having set a productive record and the sadness of staying in ground when the reservoir almost collapsed because of an intense drought. He also felt the satisfaction for having been well attended and encouraged, and also felt the logical powerlessness of having seen the camp almost destroyed by devastating hurricane Ike.
However, winds of change are blowing today in the dam, assures the fisherman, after arriving to port with his valued load.
When men willingly work and nothing slows the job up, the results are seen immediately. My brigade, which is in charge of ten fish taps, has already captured more than 220 tons of fish this year.
FISHING GROWS AS CONDITIONS IMPROVE
Amaury is right when he says that things in Jimaguayú Dam are changing.
Among many other improvements, the company has an ice plant and by the end of October Jimaguayú Dam will count with a room to process the raw material.
We might say this as quickly as the blink of an eye, but all this will dramatically transform the productive performance, as told by Ricardo Miranda Quiroga, the director of this important fishing area: "Over the last months we have been working on the running repairs of the dormitories, the canteen and other areas for a restful break, together with the gradual recovery of the fishing-tackles and naval means, although in this case the situation is difficult due to the lack of essential consumables, like resin."
Thanks to the ice plant, it is not neccesary to go for it to the city of Camagüey, which is 30 kilometers away and consequently the company saves fuel, reduces the interruptions and guarantees the quality of the raw material.
In addition, they are building a room in which the fish will be cleaned, the heads will be cut off, and the guts removed; what will improve the output of the company.
Encouraged by the changes that, for good, are taking place in Jimaguayú Dam, 97 fishermen of this reservoir are increasing the rhythms of capture, to a point that only 230 tons are left
to fulfill the plan of the year, that could be completed by the end of this month, and they shall be prepared to exceed 1 300 tons, a figure that no many provinces in the country can reach.
THE EXPERIENCE AT THE DISPOSAL OF ALL
Precisely, at the end of this month a national workshop on the extensive fish farming will be held in this company, to promote a suitable fishing strategy and combine the use of different fishing-tackles.
We have left behind those times when hundreds of fishermen from the whole province gathered in one reservoir, causing an over-exploitation of it and breaking the logical balance of the ecosystem.
Today, nevertheless, less than one hundred people work in this dam, but they implement all necessary fishing techniques: from nets, fish traps and all the way up to the so-called bocanas,
a kind of seine net that is commonly used in deep waters.
This combination, Miranda says, is not used in other parts of the country but here. If a system fails, there are other options, for that reason productivity stays high. To mention one example, more than six tons of fish were captured every day in September.
PESCACAM AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE FISHING INDUSTRY
The Fishing Company of Camagüey, known as PESCACAM, leads up the entities of its type nationwide, not only thanks the contributions of Jimaguayú dam's fishermen but also thanks to other five managerial units, entrusted to produce, capture and process species of the aquaculture for the market.
By this moment, the plan of the year focuses on 5 000 tons of fish, a figure that can be compared to the historical production levels of this province.
With more than twenty years of experience in the sector and five as general manager of the Company, Ernesto Veloz Atencio has reasons to ratify that the recovery of the fishery in the territory has just strated to to become true:
"I say so, because aside from the traditional captures in the dams, the intensive Tilapia and African catfish farming project is consolidated.
More than 800 cages and other pools will be sown with young fish in November which will be the harvest of the year 2010, when productions must be trebled.
This will allow to increase the levels of commercialization, which are still far of satisfying
the needs of the consumers, although it is already a possitive sign that today more than 95 per cent of the raw material is processed and is sold in the market.
Aside from that value added we can also mention the good dose of determination, perseverance
and consecration of the fishermen in Camaguey, who have learnt to get over the many obstacles and challenges, to place the province at the forefront of the country in a sphere that turns out to be vital for its influence on the diet of all Cubans.(Taken from Granma/Translated by Gualveris Rosales/Radio Cadena Agramonte)