Claxton Bay fishermen have added their voice to the call for compensation for losses they will incur because of Petrotrin's seismic surveys being done in the Gulf of Paria.Yesterday Bhadose Sooknanan, vice-president of the Claxton Bay Fishermen Association, in an interview with the T&T Guardian, said Claxton Bay fishermen are suffering because of the seismic testing and want compensation.
"Right now the boats are hardly working...The gas and oil are very expensive and we are not holding anything to cover our expenses," he said. "It not making sense to us, because when you go out there is only two and three fish in your catch. It is very bad. The catch would be about 100 pounds, that is about two buckets or three buckets."Petrotrin started the testing on December 30.Fishermen have called on the state-run oil and gas company to hold off on the tests until the oil spill in La Brea has been cleaned up.
On Monday, Petrotrin president Khalid Hassanali, at a media conference at the company's headquarters, promised affected fishermen would be compensated. He said Cedros fishermen have been paid $2.6 million and La Brea and Point Fortin fishermen are still to settle on a compensation figure.
He added that the seismic testing was being done in an area representing five per cent of the Gulf and fishermen were allowed to fish in the remaining 95 per cent. In the past, during seismic testing fishing was not allowed, but in this case, he said, fishermen are free to fish.Sooknanan said even though they are allowed to fish there is nothing to catch.
"When they drag the cables on the seabed the fish would not stay there. It is like an earthquake: when you in a building and it start to shake, what you do? Run away? Well, that is what happens with the fish."He said fishermen in Claxton Bay, Marabella and San Fernando also fish in the Gulf and Petrotrin should address their call for compensation.
"The seismic is very dangerous to the fishing community and fisherfolk," he said. "It is not only affecting Cedros, La Brea and Point Fortin, it is affecting the whole Gulf, because it is a basin, and where they are doing the survey is at the mouth of the basin. We asking for them to hold their hand on the seismic survey for a little while until they clean up the oil spill."