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Monday 17 June 2019
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Fish not biting

Climate change, rough seas, cycles of the moon and offshore drilling in the Gulf of Paria, not Lent, are among the list of reasons fishermen have given for poor catches, a scarcity of fish for sale and high prices.

On Thursday, fish vendors reported that their fish supplies had fallen because the stocks from fishermen were low and as a result prices now range between $25 to $30 a pound for the popular king fish, carite and red fish varieties. Fishermen in San Fernando and Cocorite yesterday confirmed they have not netted enough fish and blamed this on environmental and climate factors.

Fishermen at the Cocorite Fish Market yesterday said they are now forced to do most of their fishing out in the Gulf of Paria rather than on the North Coast due to the rough seas.

Carl Phillip, a fisherman who operates two boats, said they were getting “very little fish” with red fish, salmon, shark and cro cro being the main types caught.

“There is a big difference in the amount of fish being caught, it is really bad,” said Phillip. He added that this was one of the main reasons the prices of fish had increased. “Before we used to get almost 1,000 pounds of fish but now we get between 100 pounds and 200 pounds,” said Phillip. Tristan Ash, another fisherman for over 15 years, also added that “fishing was very hard.”

“One time I had to go almost six miles off the North Coast,” said Ash. Down at King’s Wharf, San Fernando fishermen also blamed offshore drilling in the Gulf of Paria for the depletion in fish stocks.

Jacquline Farzer, who sold the less popular herring and dolphin for three pounds at $12 and $12 per pound respectively, said offshore drilling had depleted the once fertile fishing grounds of the Gulf.

“Mud and stone getting caught up in the nets and that is because of the drilling. The fish either going deeper or they going further out to sea so the quality of fish that we used to get, we not getting anymore,” she said.

Another fisherman and vendor, who declined to give his name, said the moon phases and the disturbance on the sea bed from drilling contributed to their small hauls.

“Last week, this same salmon you see here was $16 a pound.

Today it is $20 a pound and prices may increase next week but it has nothing to do with Lent,” he said.

Even shrimp fetched a price of $20 a pound.

According to the National Agricultural Market Information System, kingfish sold at wholesale price of $32.27 per kilogramme while carite sold at $33.07 per kilogramme.

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