Monday, February 19, 2018

Contaminated fish warning

 THE La Brea Fisherfolk Association has advised the public to refrain from buying fishes out of the Gulf of Paria, especially during the Lenten season.

The warning comes as dead fish continue to wash ashore at beaches in the south-western peninsula.

President Alvin La Borde said fishermen were concerned that consumers would be sickened by the contaminated fishes. 

The fishermen’s concerns were echoed by La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffery who also urged the public against consuming fish from the Gulf of Paria, until the fish kill is thoroughly investigated.

The fishermen are calling on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into what caused the fish to die. He said dead dogs and birds were also found scattered along the beaches.

“This is the Lenten season and fish is in high demand, but we want to tell people don’t buy the fish that comes out of the Gulf. We don’t know what is causing the fishes to die. It seems as though the animals are eating these fishes and they are dying,” he said.

La Borde said the authorities appeared reluctant to find the cause of the fish kill. “The EMA came and took samples and other agencies. This is happening for more that three weeks. They still cannot tell us what is causing this. They are dragging their feet, while we live in fear,” he said.

La Borde said piles of dead fish were secured and delivered to the Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS). 

FFOS president Gary Aboud displayed some of the dead fish and birds outside the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) office in St Clair, Port of Spain, on Thursday.

He claimed the Government was covering up the extent of the damage to marine life following the series of oil spills in the Gulf of Paria last December.

Aboud said the EMA should declare a state of emergency until it was safe to consume fish.

La Borde said fishermen and residents of La Brea were concerned that the dispersant Corexit 9500, used to remove oil from the water surface, may have caused the fishes to die.

“So what does that mean for residents. They want to know where they stand now. How would this affect them?” he said.

The residents staged a protest at Coffee Beach, La Brea, last week calling for relocation until the investigation is completed.