Friday, February 23, 2018

Many dead fish in southland


DEAD: Fisherman Kenny Rampersad shows one of the dead fish which washed ashore at Coffee Beach, La Brea yesterday.

Mark Fraser

 Much of the southwestern peninsula was littered with dead fish yesterday, causing concern among residents and fishermen.

The dead fish began washing ashore at Coffee Beach, Carat Shed Beach and Point Sable Beach in La Brea three days ago.

Jason Jacob, vice president of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association, said, “Today hundreds of fishes washed ashore. Animals are eating them up quickly. We took some of the dead fishes and put them on ice so we can have tests done to determine what is causing this.”

Jacob said fishermen and residents were concerned and are demanding an investigation into why the fish were dying.

“We want to know what is happening. The residents are scared. Why are these fish dying, can the residents be affected by this too?” he said.

Fisherman Kenny Rampersad said before the oil spills in the Gulf of Paria there were hardly any dead fish on the shoreline. “We believe it is something in the water. This is the first time we have had something like this here. This is a major fish kill and we believe it has something to do with the oil spill,” he said.

Crude oil washed ashore at the beaches last December. The beaches were cleaned and residents were given the all clear to return to their normal lives last month. 

Fishermen, however, have not returned to the sea and are being paid $1,200 a day until the Environmental Management Authority gives the green light to resume fishing in the waters.

The fishermen have also pleaded with Petrotrin to replace the “No Fishing” and “No Bathing” signs at the beaches. 

Alvin La Borde, president of the La Brea Fishing Association, said fishermen were concerned about the dispersant Corexit 9500 used to remove oil from the water surface. La Borde said fishermen and residents were concerned that the chemical was dangerous to people and marine life.

Yesterday several families were observed bathing in the waters off Carat Shed Beach, La Brea.

La Borde said fishermen were not prepared to return to the sea until thorough testing is conducted on the sea water. “We are not prepared to sell people contaminated fish. We want evidence that the water is clean and safe and then we would return,” he said.

Petrotrin and EMA officials have been informed of the dead fish.