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Challenges of the Fishery
Avoidable Fatalities

Avoidable Fatalities

Date: April 18th , 2019

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) sympathize with the bereaved families of Chunilal Gyandass and Ronald Narinesingh who perished off Carli Bay when their vessel sunk. For decades FFOS have called on Government after Government to pass updated and modern fisheries legislation that would mandate standards for the training of captains and the operation of reliable vessels. To date, in the absence of any legislated licensing regime, there is no standard which would minimize risk, or failing that, on how to respond to an emergency situation. Unfortunately, to show the neglect of our fishery sector in a single minded oil and gas Republic, the current Fisheries Act, 1916, was passed one hundred and three (103) years ago and is almost irrelevant today.

FFOS urge every Government to be genuinely interested in our sector who continue to perish at sea. We are dismayed by the general lack of interest in saving lives while speech after speech we hear boasts of more lavish highways to heaven spending. Saving lives is free. Shouldn’t this also be a priority of responsible governance?

FFOS also appeals to the fishers to act responsibly in taking every precaution in equipping their vessels with safety equipment and in training their crew on how to operate in an emergency, how to stay afloat, how to wear the life jacket, how to swim and if you can’t swim you shouldn’t take the chance of being in the open seas without safety equipment.

According to our current legislation, anyone can captain any artisanal vessel, at any speed, any time, anywhere, anyhow, whether three or ninety three, whether drunk, blind or in between. Without regulations we will continue to lose our vulnerable. It’s as if to say anyone could drive a car, anywhere, anyhow, at any speed.

We urge our Government to act and wonder, what are they waiting for? How many more must die before our Parliamentarians sit up and address these avoidable and recurring fatalities?
Gary Aboud
Corporate Secretary

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