Friday, December 15, 2017

Sando fishermen: People refusing to buy

Don’t forget the fish vendors.

That was the cry yesterday as dozens of fish vendors at King’s Wharf, San Fernando, called for compensation.

The vendors complained that customers were refusing to buy fish for two reasons — high prices and they were afraid it tasted like oil.

Fisherman Roger Haynes said the fishermen at Kings’ Wharf were also affected by the oil spills in the Gulf of Paria.

“Just because we are not in La Brea it does not mean we are not affected. We fish in the Gulf of Paria too. When the spill happened several customers returned fish to us and we had to give them back their money. We were never compensated for that. The customers said the fish tasted like oil and they demanded their money,” he said.

Haynes said customers were also complaining of high fish prices. 

“We didn’t have a choice to send up the price because we had to pay more for it from the boat owners,” he said. 

King fish, which usually retails at $25 a pound, was sold at $50 a pound yesterday. Carite also went from $25 a pound to $50 a pound.

The price of salmon and cro cro was increased by $5 a pound, retailing at $25 a pound yesterday.

Haynes said fishermen were disappointed that no one had visited them at King’s Wharf since the oil spill.

“No one came here, just the media. We want the ministers to come here and see for themselves. We want to tell them what we have been going through since this oil spill happened,” he said.

Another fisherman, Dhanraj Ramkissoon, said his boat engine, net and pirogue were coated with oil. 

“We went out at sea and when we pulled up the net it was covered in oil. The engine and the boat were also covered in oil. We had to dump the catch because that too had oil,” he said.

Ramkissoon also said fishermen at King’s Wharf were being ignored. He appealed to the authorities to compensate the fishermen for their losses.

Petrotrin’s corporate communications manager, Gillian Friday, said the company was in discussion with the fisherfolk regarding compensation. 

—See Page 11