Monday, January 22, 2018

Aboud: Some fish still safe to eat


POLLUTED: Dead fish found along the Point Sable Beach, La Brea on Saturday.

Mark Fraser

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) president Gary Aboud said on Saturday that only certain types of fish have been found dead in the fish kill in La Brea and there are those that were still safe for consumption.

Over the past weeks fish have been washing ashore in La Brea.

Many believe that the oil dispersant COREXIT9500 which was used by State-owned oil company Petrotrin to remove the oil from the water following last December’s oil-spill is a health risk to the ecosystem and to people.

Many believe the chemical has killed the fish.

Aboud said the fish that feed at the bottom of the sea are the ones that are being found dead. “There’s a panic going on because people stopped buying fish. People stopped buying all fish and it is not all fish that are contaminated. It’s the Gulf of Paria fish that we are aware of and it is bottom feeders ... Mullet, lippy, salmon and crab,” he said.

Aboud said king fish, carite and tuna have not been affected.

He said fishermen, including those from around the coast of Trinidad and also in Tobago, are being crippled by low sales.

“There’s a total national scare and it is very understandable but one has to be informed of these things. It is not all fish.”

On Thursday Aboud and a group of fisherfolk took dead fish and pelicans to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) office at St Clair as they held a protest outside the agency.

Aboud was expected to visit the beaches in La Brea yesterday to collect fish, which were either alive on the beach or died within two hours, to show to the Prime Minster and other ministers.

“We’re not going to do anything unruly or threatening in any way. We think it is important that they see it and touch it and, if possible, smell it. When we have physical contact with a disaster it takes on a different dimension,” Aboud said.

He called for the minister in charge of fisheries to come forward or resign.

“This is a national disaster ... When we say there should be a marine state of emergency we are serious because people are eating these fish or playing and swimming in the salt water and the water is contaminated, people can be infected.”

On Saturday resident Arthur Wallace also voiced his concerns saying that signs should be posted on the beach to warn people about bathing in the area.

Another resident, Peter Mason, 62, who has been a gardener for the past 25 years, said since the fish washed ashore, he has not spent much time tending to his garden which is in close proximity to the beach. Mason said he is afraid of getting sick.

Petrotrin said a team has been formed to investigate the cause of the fish kill. In a release on Friday, the company said samples of the dead fish from La Brea have been taken to the UWI Veterinary School for testing and analysis. It said further to these investigations, it has contracted an independent certified laboratory to conduct water and sediment quality testing in La Brea beaches.