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Saturday 20 January 2018

Aboud claims: Trawlers working in ‘red zone’

FISHERMEN and Friends of the Sea Secretary, Gary Aboud, has alleged that several shrimp trawlers are known to be working in a contaminated “red zone” area with fish kills. He claimed that “caustic soda” have used to bleached at least one catch, to remove discolouration of oil found within their catch. Aboud made mention of this yesterday at a press conference at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain.

“It is important I say to you and it is with a very heavy heart that when we come ashore with our catch, vendors don’t want to purchase our fish, because people have stop eating fish. People are afraid, now we have shrimp trawler’s who are shrimping in the red zone areas, he asked, should people be eating these shrimps,” Aboud said.

He noted that the State continues to claim that the dispersants used (COREXIT) are not the cause of the fish kills. However, several bottle-nose dolphins washed ashore dead in the same area where COREXIT/oil was left by Petrotrin, mullet and several other species, continue to wash up dead.

He said after the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) stated that the dead fish were not poisoned by COREXIT, Petrotrin stopped paying compensation to the three primarily affected communities in the contaminated “red zone”.

“This mean that the fisher-folk were now free to catch shrimp and fish from the same area where the dead fish, dolphins, birds and crabs are washing up dead daily,” he said.

Aboud emphasised that unlike the mullet and most of the bottom fish when they die they float, however, the carite and king mackerel are also being poisoned in the Gulf of Paria, but they do not float.

“When these fish die and sink we are not seeing them so we do not know if they are affected, no one knows.

This is new information that have come to us, and we found it very disturbing. It is wrong and we cannot encourage people to eat fish or shrimp. We cannot take chances with people’s health, it is a serious matter and is a big cover up,” Aboud said.

Aboud said residents of Coffee Village, La Brea, have been left with respiratory problems where scores of cases have been reported and some residents continue to be affected.

“We are talking about the likelihoods in excess of 50,000 citizens, and saying this is putting their livelihoods in jeopardy, he asked why is Petrotrin silence, and covering up this matter, and saying that everything is back to normal,” Aboud said.

He said when the oil spill first occurred in December 2013, Petrotrin’s first response was to disperse it, rather than contain the spill.


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