SOMETHING fishy is happening in the Gulf of Paria, off the coast of La Brea, and fishermen and villagers want answers from the authorities. For the past six days, thousands of dead fish washed ashore at Carat Shed, Coffee and Point Sable beaches in La Brea, said the president of La Brea Fisherfolk Association Alvin La Borde.
The fish kill is posing a major public health hazard and La Borde is calling on the authorities to assist in the cleanup process as well as the cause of the problem.
"Since 2013 this has been happening on a yearly basis. The majority of the fish are already rotted which means they were killed elsewhere or people dumped them, and they wash ashore. We strongly believe that somebody is behind this to discredit our data," La Borde said.
La Brea, he said, has been earmarked for the development of different projects within the gulf. The fisherfolk believe that somebody wants official data to show low records of fish sales. Thus, if the issue of compensation arises, fisherfolk would be at a disadvantage.
"There were lots of proposals in place for the development like the La Brea shipyard and transshipment port to be built. Somebody is interfering. When the tide rises, the fish wash ashore. This is joke what you are seeing here. Corbeaux belly full, they cannot eat anymore," La Borde said.
Some of the dead fish include catfish, mullet, cutlass fish, redfish and fowl fish. Daily, fishermen are raking shorelines and dumping the fish in a heap. Yesterday, there were several fishbones protruding in the sand. Apart from the fish, rivers such as Cipero and Gordineau transport rubbish to the area.
When the fish began washing ashore on Monday, La Borde contacted the Institute and Marine Affairs (IMA) and Environmental Management Authority (EMA). Officials from both organisations visited the area.
"After that, there was no sighting of them, not one of them. Why is it people must protest or make some kind of noise for them to do what they are being paid to do? Look how many fish.
"How is it they cannot say exactly what is killing the fish? Or, is it they know what is killing the fish and they don’t want to say?" La Borde said.
The fish kill is negatively affecting sales as he said customers are skeptical about buying fish from the area as they feel it is unhealthy .
La Borde contacted the Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC) as well as MP Nicole Olivierre for assistance in cleaning the beaches. Up to yesterday, help was not forthcoming.
When contacted Olivierre said she too contacted SRC about the issue and was awaiting feedback. She promised to visit the site today.