Official Statements

#Article 1

Title picture and small description

without picture just link to the page with the articles

FFOS Responds to IMA- “bait dump vs fish kill in Chaguaramas”/
Today the annual ongoing Mosquito Creek fish kill continues

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) respond to the article
published on page 23, Thursday 6th July 2017, in the Daily Express, titled
“Bait dump vs fishkill in Chaguaramas” by Farahnaz Solomon, PhD, of the
Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), we alert the Media that at 8am today,
12th July, the entire shore line and coast of Mosquito Creek is covered in dead fish of a wide variety, including large commercial species. FFOS have called on the Governments IMA to investigate these ongoing death in the Petrotrin Red Zone area which was so named after the December 17th, 2013 oil spills and to honestly advise the public of the safety of consuming fish and shrimp from this significantly contaminated area. The IMA have continuously claimed that the ongoing occurrence of dead fish in the Chaguaramas Basin since May 10th 2017, and in Point Sable Beach, on the fringe of the Aripero Lagoon in La Brea since the December 17th 2013 oil spills, are “dumped bait” by “long liner vessels that had visited the area”, or “dumped by catch” as in the case of La Brea. Fishermen, mariners and residents of Chaguaramas and La Brea have stated to us that this is the first time in the history of these areas that they have observed tens of thousands of dead fish, day after day. The Chaguaramas Basin has had dead fish for over 9 weeks, and with no apparent cause

  • no net marks,
  • no reported hydrocarbons in the water,
  • no reported chemical spill,
  • no industrial activity,
  • no unusual decomposing debris in the Basin.

#Article 2

La Brea Fish Kill Investigation

Due to conflicting information provided to the media over the past few months, FFOS now seeks to clarify the evidence on the on-going Fish Kills in the South Western peninsula of Trinidad.
Background
In December 2013 Petrotrin had a series of oil spills including a major one on 17th December, the largest in our history, of some 7,500 barrels of Bunker C type oil, which heavily impact the coastline of south-west Trinidad generally and the beaches of La Brea in particular. Petrotrin and its energy partners were not prepared for the spill and the response from the energy sector was less than satisfactory. Spilled oil was dispersed prior to being contained because of a lack of equipment which had to be flown in from abroad. One of the dispersants used close to the shoreline in La Brea was Corexit 9500A. This product is intended to be used in open seas only and is banned in the European Union.
Following the spill the then Government created a National Environmental Assessment Task Force (NEATF) to conduct a thorough investigation on how and why the spill happened and on the resulting environmental impacts, including the potential for contamination of fish stock as well as to address any public health issues that may have arisen. The resulting Report was promised to the public but never released.
Missing Information After numerous letters, FFOS sought access to the Report of the NEATF under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from several government institutions and ministries including UWI, EMA, IMA, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Trade as well as Petrotrin. FFOS was not successful. The Report was classified as a ‘Cabinet Document’ and exempt from the FOAI.

Continue Reading……

Article #3

Is fish safe to eat?

In light of the independent laboratory analysis conducted by the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) for Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) AND the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), we are advising that caution be observed in the consumption of demersal fish (bottom dwellers) from the waters surrounding La Brea until further investigation can be done into the hydrocarbon contamination. The report dated August 19th 2016 shows Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) readings in excess of 26 000 mg/kg both in the flesh of fish and sediment sampled in La Brea. This is significantly higher than any scientific study on the matter or similar investigation into environmental and human health concerns. These alarming readings are of samples taken from the same beaches affected by the oil spills and whereFFOS continues to document sick and dying fish washing ashore daily. This analysis which was done jointly with the EMA utilized the same methodology, the same laboratory and with a larger sample size of fish than those previously conducted by the EMA. As joint clients FFOSwere able to share the results from the CARIRI Service Report, despite request from various authorities not to. Having made statements previously that all fish were “grossly normal” and dumped by fishermen the EMA have distanced themselves from these results which they themselves jointly sampled and had commissioned.

Continue Reading…….

Article #4

New Analysis into the La Brea Fish Kills and Risks to the Public Health

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) have addressed two open letters respectfully seeking an urgent meeting with the two highest office holders of our Republic, His Excellency Anthony
Thomas Aquinas Carmona, and The Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, to present unpublished and new scientific findings pertaining to the La Brea fish kills, toxicity and public health concerns.
New information has been produced by an accredited institution with professorial authority which proves definitively that there is cause for grave concern for the public health of the nation and the wider Caribbean region where our fish and shrimp are exported. This matter is of urgent public concern because our government agencies, whom we have met
with extensively, continue to avoid their obligations to investigate expeditiously, or to invoke the precautionary principal which arguably should be invoked at this time. FFOS is calling for a transparent group of both State and Civil Society Organizations – including fishermen – to establish the cause of the on-going fish kills, to eliminate this cause and to
ensure the well-being of both our environment and the public health. We hope our leaders will take the time to consider this unresolved and on-going national health threat imperatively.

Article #5

Hard Decisions Must Be Made

Since the unprecedented Petrotrin oil spill of 2013 a wide variety marine life continues to wash ashore, dead or dying on the beaches of La Brea.  The Authorities promised to investigate the matter then erroneously reported it as excess fish dumped by fishermen (lab results are never released or inexplicably go missing).  The fish kill in La Brea continues on a daily basis (peaking after heavy rains). FFOS presented evidence of this but it is ignored or rejected.  This continued for 3 years while FFOS continued to call for action. July 25, 2016 FFOS conducted its’ own investigation in La Brea using the same laboratory as the Authorities  CARIRI found high levels of hydrocarbon contamination in sediment and fish tissue (2680.73 mg/kg of TPH)  Aimed at officially discrediting the FFOS report, the EMA immediately conducted the same analysis using the same method.[dated August 15, 2016] The results were not made public but the EMA declared the samples “grossly normal” and announced again that the dead fish were dumped by fishermen.  This most recent EMA report [include date of report] had numerous, grievous errors – incorrect dates, units of measure, even page numbers – when these errors were pointed out to them by FFOS the report was withdrawn and then reintroduced as a draft, corrected.

Article #6

La Brea Community sentenced to death

For the past 42 months since the eleven (11) 2013 Petrotrin oil spills, major
and ongoing fish kills have been occurring daily on the beaches of La Brea.
Since December 2013, FFOS have recorded this event in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. FFOS have been visiting Point Sable Beach in La Brea, almost every Saturday, at the falling tide, since the beginning of this year.
Put plainly, this is an urgent environmental and public health risk. Government officials as well as the resident fishing association are turning a blind eye on this La Brea community who are at greatest exposure and risk, as they regularly catch and consume large quantities of their own freshly caught fish, which have been found in UTT’s laboratory tests to contain “significant levels” of the cancer causing triggers known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). In the end the Government officials and the fishing Association, are not being mindful of who will suffer the most.

Continue Reading….

Article #7

The Lagoon of Doom- Death on Carat Shed Beach, La Brea

Today 26th February 2017, in our fifth year since the Petrotrin 2013 oil
spill, eleven (11) species of fish (herring, blinch, rokando, salmon, catfish,
moonshine, plato, blow/puffer fish, fowl fish, branch and mullet), pelicans,
cobeaux, frigate birds and crabs continue to wash ashore dead on Carat Shed Beach La Brea. Once again, Carat Shed and Point Sable Beaches are
contaminated with dead marine species.

Picture

If the Hon. Minister Robinson-Regis claims that the “fish are safe to eat” based on the USFDA analysis of fish in Trinidad coastal areas done in 2016, then what is relentlessly killing these pelicans, corbeau, frigate birds, and a wide variety of demersal and pelagic fish in La Brea? This is Lenten season and larger than normal quantities of fish are being consumed. FFOS continue to appeal to Our Right Honourable Prime Minister to consider the vulnerable Southern community who are being exposed first hand to the same contaminants which is killing these species each day. FFOS call on our Prime Minister to intervene and guide these fishing

Article #8

Government must act lawfully

The Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago declares the right of the individual to life as a fundamental human right. This means that no one, including the Government, can try to end your life. It also means that the Government should take appropriate measures to safeguard life by
making laws to protect you and, in some circumstances, by taking steps to protect you if your life is at risk. The National Environmental Policy (NEP) of 2006, states that “the Government therefore accepts the responsibility to adopt policies and measures with a view to improving human health and the quality of life”. The laws of our country mandate that the Government ensures the protection of human health, yet they intentionally risk the lives of the La Brea fishing and fish consuming communities. Since the December 17th 2013, Petrotrin has reported a “7000 barrel” oil spill which washed ashore in La Brea; this community has been plagued with daily fish and marine species mortality in such great numbers that it has become the norm. Since the last reported mass fish kill in Carat Shed Beach La Brea on 26th February 2018, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA)
has visited at least 4 times to investigate fish and predatory marine bird kill at the behest of Alvin La Borde, President of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association. However, when the EMA visited, no samples were taken to determine the cause of death. Why didn’t the EMA inform the pubic there were ongoing fish and bird kill?

Article #9

Public health threat…statements must be supported by science, not
speculation

FFOS take strong objection to unsubstantiated and speculative statements.
At the beginning of every rainy season since the December 17th 2013 Petrotrin oil spill, literally hundreds of
thousands of dead fish, pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, corbeaux, bottlenose dolphins, shrimp, crabs, stingrays
and other marine creatures wash ashore dead or dying on the beaches of La Brea.
On Sunday 17th June, 2018 on Point Sable beach, La Brea, FFOS recorded over twelve species of dead fish, one
corbeaux, in addition to a dead bottle-nose dolphin.(see pictures attached.)
Five years after the daily ongoing continuous fish kill that started on 17th December 2013, the cause of the death
has still not been determined by our Government Agencies including the IMA and the EMA.
Without any chemical analysis from our Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) or Environmental Management
Authority (EMA) to determine that the fish was chemical free we noted the superstitious conclusions by the
President of the La Brea fisherfolk say that its dumped fish.
Never once has the EMA, IMA or the Ministry of Planning Development identify and specify the source of the
ongoing 5-year La Brea fish kill.
Since last year, the Ministry of Planning and Development stated that they will commence sediment testing in the
Dec 2013, oil impacted areas. Has this monitoring programme commenced? What are the reports of the area?
The Authorities have remained tongue-tied and shrouded in secrecy as to what is happening to our La Brea inshore
fishery.
Instead of selling out the fishery, we should ask ourselves, why would fishermen dump a 4 lb commercial fish?
Why would fisherfolk willingly sabotage their own livelihood?
FFOS continue to appeal to the Government to:

Article #10

La Brea: Fish kill or fish dump?

For the past 52 months since the 2013 Petrotrin oil spills, sudden, major and ongoing fish kills have been re-occurring daily in the “clearly defined Petrotrin Red Zone area” from Mosquito
Creek to Point Fortin with concentrated mortalities in the Aripero Lagoon area off La Brea. La Brea- Fish Kill or fish Dump?
For the past 52 months since the 2013 Petrotrin oil spills, sudden, major and ongoing fish kills have been re-occurring daily in the “clearly defined Petrotrin Red Zone area” from Mosquito
Creek to Point Fortin with concentrated mortalities in the Aripero Lagoon area off La Brea. FFOS acknowledges the article written by Dr Farahnaz Solomon PHD, of the Institute of Marine
Affairs (IMA), headlined “Fish Kill vs. Fish Dump” in the Trinidad Express dated 28th June 2018 and respond with concern.
The IMA article is really only a set of general guidelines for differentiating fish kills from fish dumps since there are no data in the article about the ongoing and recent fish kills in the Aripero Lagoon area off La Brea. It neither proves nor disproves any particular event nor does it
address the multitudes of frigate birds and corbeaux which continue to wash ashore dead or dying and could not have been discarded by a shrimp trawler. It’s kind of hard to write a rebuttal
to this article because it doesn’t really make any specific or scientific claims of merit. Fish Kill events
FFOS agree with the IMA that the most prevalent cause of fish kills are due to natural events but the learned institution conveniently fails to realize that human activities can influence their
frequency and severity.
\

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *