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La Brea fishermen seek meeting with Petrotrin

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

LA BREA fishermen are seeking an urgent meeting with State-owned Petrotrin to discuss compensation and the reported ban on fishing in the area impacted by the oil spill last December.

La Brea Fisherfolk Association president, Alvin La Borde, said fishermen were still awaiting written assurances from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) on when they would be able to return to the sea.

But an EMA media release last week indicated that the National Environmental Assessment Task Force (NEATF) was not aware of a ban on fishing in the area.

The release stated, “The NEATF is also not aware of a ban on fishing in the area impacted by the Petrotrin oil spill. The National Environmental Assessment Task Force which was established in accordance with Cabinet Minute #205 of January 23rd 2014 does not have within its remit, the imposition for lifting of a ban on fishing or any other use of the area impacted by the Petrotrin oil spill.” 

La Borde said the company was not in contact with fishermen regarding the issue. The fishermen have not returned to the sea since oil washed ashore at beaches in La Brea on December 18. The fishermen, however, are being paid $1,200 per day by Petrotrin for loss of earnings.

He said there was no assurance that fish was safe for consumption, following the oil spills. He claimed that fishermen were purchasing fish from places at south coast Moruga to sell in La Brea and surrounding areas during the Lenten season. “People don’t want to buy fish caught in the Gulf of Paria. And the EMA is not giving us any confirmation whether it is safe to eat the fishes in the Gulf,” he said.

La Brea residents were also concerned about the dead fish washing ashore near their homes.

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