Monday, June 27, 2016
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is calling for independently-verified scientific data to be collected and made public on the health of fish stocks from Otaheite to Point Fortin, and also the quality of water at the intake for the Point Fortin Desalination Plant, given what appears to be the recurring seasonal release of Corexit in the Gulf of Paria.
In the aftermath of Petrotrin’s disastrous December 17, 2013 oil spills, the oil spill dispersant COREXIT® EC9500A was used indiscriminately in the near shore area. The tides pushed these submerged chemicals (oil bubbles coated in Corexit), into the mangrove and the lagoon, and under the sea bed and sand, where we believe it still remains today.
For the past three years, whenever there is oceanic turbulence or heavy rainfall, thousands of dead or dying fish wash ashore. In 2013, these contaminated areas were declared by Petrotrin to be a “Red Zone” in which all fishing was banned. What was the criterion used to lift this ban?
In a January 2014 press release, La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey reported that the oil spill-affected residents of Coffee Beach were falling sick and that he believed their illnesses were linked to Petrotrin’s use of Corexit.
FFOS has alerted the EMA and the IMA, but they continue to hide behind the explanation that aquatic life is washing ashore because fishers are dumping low value fish. This is not by-catch discard. None of these fish have gill net marks. Are fishers dumping a variety of high value fish such as salmon, pague, grouper, blinch, and cro cro, still alive, flapping and gasping with blood in their gills? How do they explain dead pelicans, corbeaux and flipper dolphins?
In early 2014 we collected a living shark which had washed ashore, but the IMA claimed to have lost our carefully preserved specimen.
According to US Environmental Protection Agency data, Corexit is one of the most toxic chemicals of its kind. Additionally, a Corexit-oil mixture is much more toxic than either oil alone or Corexit alone.
We believe that there is a direct correlation between these fish kills, the reports of ill health and the Corexit emulsified hydrocarbon which was left submerged in the near-shore marine ecosystem and mangrove in this exact geographical area three years ago.
This is no coincidence. These fish are only washing up on Corexit-laced beaches—Coffee, Carat Shed and Point Sable in La Brea.
Terrence Beddoe, President
Gary Aboud, Corporate Secretary, FFOS