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Lecturer on seismic surveys: Money for fishermen generous
The compensation given to T&T’s fishermen is extremely fair, considering about 90 per cent of them admit to fishing elsewhere during periods when seismic surveys are being done. So said economics lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Roger Hosein during the university’s Trade and Development Unit lecture on compensation packages for fishermen during seismic surveys. He delivered the lecture at the Faculty of Social Science at the university’s St Augustine Campus yesterday.
In October the Ministry of Energy reported that fisherfolk were paid approximately $8,545 a month a boat during the seismic period. The ministry also said between 2010 and 2013 over $77.3 million was paid to fisherfolk by five oil companies as compensation for seismic activity . The entity responsible for granting licences to companies to do seismic surveys in T&T is the Energy Ministry.
Hosein said as long as fishermen were not mooring their boats, the compensation given to them by oil companies was “generous.” “There is no legal contract that says fishermen cannot fish in other parts of the country while the seismic survey is being conducted and most of them do fish in other areas,” he added. Hosein also challenged oil companies to pay more attention to compensating communities.
He said: “As it is now, the compensation goes mainly to boat-owning fishermen and that is good. They play a major part in contributing to national food safety and they should be compensated. “What we need to consider is that strategies may need to be put in place to replenish fish stock after a period of time. Companies may find it useful to make an intervention along those lines. “Who owns the fish in the sea?” Hosein asked.
“In a sense it is not only the boat-owning fishermen but also members of the fishing communities and the country as a whole.” He said as part of compensation packages for seismic surveys, companies needed to consider the impact on communities and plan compensation strategies that benefited the entire community.
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