GOVERNMENT'S decision to stop the importation of regular gasoline, as well was pollution in the Gulf of Paria were among the key issues discussed by fisherfolk at the Cedros Community centre on Saturday evening.
Fisherfolk from along TT’s south western peninsula, including Cedros, Icacos, Fullerton, and Granville met with colleagues from Carli Bay and San Fernando to discuss issues confronting the fishing industry. The fisher folk met with Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen and Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh.
Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Teelucksingh said one proposal suggested by the fisher Falk was the importation of regular gas from Venezuela and cited Foreign Affairs minister Dennis Moses recent trip to witness the inauguration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as evidence of TT’s close relationship with the South American country.
“It is very cheap and readily available in the Venezuela at a reasonable price and just as they negotiated for natural gas, why is it the minister of foreign affairs is not negotiating for regular gas to be imported from Venezuela.”
He said due to pollution in the Gulf of Paria, fisher folk had to venture further out into the sea to catch fish and this was also pushing up the cost of fishing. “Before it was costing about $150- $200 for a trip but now it costing between 450-500 per trip for gas and oil.
“They have to go out deeper because of the pollution. Normally they would had to go out a mile or two from the shoreline now they have to go about 7-8 miles, some even going as far as Morne Diablo and Moruga side so definitely the cost has to go up. Sometimes they have to leave their families and camp out in then other communities to put a meal on the table.”
“They said it seems as if the government is trying to shut down the salt water fishing communities and have cheaper fish from the 1 per cent, imported fish, on the local market such as tilapia and this would carry up our food bill.”
And regarding the pollution, he said they had signalled their intention to write both he EMA and the IMA to conduct testing in the Gulf.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Cedros fishing association, Louis Padarath described the situation as “dire” saying the Gulf is “really dirty” given then large number of industries which were located along the coast.