Last update: 24-Jul-2014 4:28 am
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Petrotrin gets more fish dumping reports
Petrotrin yesterday sent up aerial surveillance aircraft to investigate information that 17,000 pounds of mullet had been dumped off the coast near La Brea, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said. The alert to Petrotrin’s police came in yesterday from sources both in Otaheite and Claxton Bay, the company also confirmed. But aerial surveillance between Otaheite and Icacos—up to ten miles off the shoreline—did not detect any mass of dead fish, Petrotrin confirmed to the T&T Guardian last night.
The information came to the company on the eve of today’s protest march in the La Brea area by fishermen and other groups who are still clamouring over several issues, including the December 2013 oil spill. People’s National Movement (PNM) MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey (La Brea) said he’s participating in the march.
Ahead of that, Ramnarine said yesterday that he had received a report from Petrotrin that the company was investigating intelligence received that people in the fishing industry had dumped 17,000 pounds of mullet near La Brea. If that was so, he said, the fish would wash up on the beaches.
Petrotrin is already coping with the fallout from the washing-up of dead fish on Coffee Beach, La Brea, in March. However, reports done by both the Institute of Marine Affairs and Environmental Management Agency (EMA) have shown that the fish were healthy and were not poisoned by toxins or chemicals used by Petrotrin in the December oil spill clean-up exercise.
Both agencies have, however, detected external marks on the fish and have noted possible dumping as the reason for the washing-up of the fish, the T&T Guardian reported exclusively yesterday.
Ramnarine said the fish which had been washing up on the beaches were mullet and as he understood it, there was no market for mullet locally. He said there is a market for it in Venezuela.
He said the ministry had sent 14 samples of the fish to a US lab which tested them for the Corexit chemical used in the oil spill clean-up and the lab found no detectable level of the active ingredient in Corexit. The samples were also tested for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and no potential risk was found. He said Corexit was only used in Pointe-a-Pierre and 31 drums were used. Five months after the oil spill, he said the chemical would have been tremendously diluted by Gulf of Paria waters by now.
Petrotrin stated last night that it is continuing to closely monitor the situation following reports of fish dumping.