Last update: 05-Dec-2013 8:03 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Oil and fishing must find a way to mix
The recursive discussions about offshore seismic surveys spiralled into public awareness again last week when fishermen took their complaints directly to the Ministry of Energy, bringing their boats and their fury over upcoming seismic surveys and issues of compensation to the dockside of the Waterfront Complex.
Without stirring himself unduly on Thursday morning, the Energy Minister could have looked down from his offices to the sea below, churning with boat wake and fishermen’s invective, as placards declared, “Fish are renewable. Oil is not.” The first instinct at the Ministry of Energy was to counter the fishermen’s claims, pointing out that over the last three years, local fishermen had been paid $77.3 million in compensation for their losses during seismic surveys.
On Monday, Dianne Christian-Simmons, president of Cocorite Fishing Facility and Fish Market Association, turned up the heat on the ministry, dismissing its efforts at explaining the effects of the planned seismic surveys as “hoodwinking” the public. Ms Christian-Simmons, who has been in the business for more than 20 years, specifically dismissed counterarguments by Petrotrin that its methods were safe and even potentially beneficial to the ocean environment as “nonsense.”
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