Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Aboud gives list of unsafe fish


CARCASSES: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) secretary Gary Aboud displays dead fish following a news conference yesterday at Invaders Bay, off Audrey Jeffers Highway, Mucurapo. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Mark Fraser

Waliac, salmon, mullet, lippy, catfish, blinch, crapo, pompano, bouchet, taraut.

These are the fish that Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is urging consumers not to eat as the Lenten season continues.

In a news conference held yesterday at Invaders Bay, Audrey Jeffers Highway, the FFOS said only surface fish like carite, king, dolphin, tuna, wahoo and bonito are safe to eat.

FFOS secretary Gary Aboud said the group is aware there has been a decline in fish sales following the Petrotrin oil spills some 16 weeks ago.

Further, he said, the FFOS wants to remind the public that fish, crabs, oysters and shrimp caught off the North, East and South coasts of Trinidad are not expected to be affected by the on-going fish kills off La Brea.

“Regarding the Gulf of Paria, it is only the bottom feeders that washing up dead,” said Aboud, who was berated by a fisherman who claimed that Aboud’s proclamations on the fish kills were affecting his livelihood.

FFOS is calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to instruct Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh to make a definitive statement on the issue of fish kills.

“Based on our analysis, FFOS is of the view that the fish kills are as the result of Petrotrin’s use of the dispersant COREXIT9500, which when mixed with oil becomes highly toxic,” said Aboud.

“The public would recall Petrotrin attempted to disperse the oil spill before containing it. It is imperative that the Government declares how much COREXIT was used and where and how it was applied.

“It is only with this information can a scientific analysis be done on the extent of residual toxicity in the Gulf of Paria and its implications for the livelihoods of fishers and the health of the public.”

In related news, the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), in a statement issued to the press yesterday, said it has been monitoring the recent fish kill in La Brea, particularly at Carat Shed Beach, on a daily basis.

The IMA said its observations indicate a high mortality rate of the white mullet only and that this is not a typical fish kill since it doesn’t affect other species.

“Examination of the mullet carcasses revealed that they were heavily infected with parasitic nematodes and that they are not yet in spawning condition.

“These preliminary findings suggest that the cause of death of the fish may be either disease-related or due to ingestion of harmful food organisms.”

The IMA is collaborating with The University of the West Indies to determine the exact cause of the mortality.

In an immediate reaction to the IMA’s findings, Aboud said the fish kill couldn’t be disease-related since fish will be washing up on shores across the country and not just La Brea.

He said his team also discovered other variety of dead fish, along with dead crabs.