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...‘No pollutants found’

By Carla Bridglal carla.bridglal@trinidadexpress.com

Testing conducted by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) on March 17 on catches from fishermen in Claxton Bay and Otahetie showed no evidence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), Environment Minister Ganga Singh said yesterday.

Responding to questions posed to him in Parliament yesterday by La Brea Member of Parliament Fitzgerald Jeffrey, Singh said no detectable traces of PAHs were found in a shark sample. PAHs are atmospheric pollutants that occur naturally in oil, tar and coal and are released when fossil fuels are burned. They can potentially cause cancer, genetic mutations and physical abnormalities. Last week, hundreds of dead fish washed ashore at several beaches in La Brea, notable Coffee Beach, Point Sable and Carat Shed—beaches most affected during the oil spill. 

Singh said the IMA is currently conducting tests on the fish that washed ashore and was expecting a report from the Institute within two weeks, after which a decision will be taken.

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, also in Parliament to respond to questions posed by Jeffrey and Point Fortin MP Paula Gopee-Scoon, said total compensation paid to 27 La Brea fisherfolk/boat owners amounted to $3,115,000 and to 81 Otaheite fisherfolk/boat owners was $4,665,600 as at February 26.

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