To Mr Allan Bachan of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA):
On Saturday January 11, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) joined with fishermen from various depots around the Gulf of Paria, and went on a fact-finding mission to determine the impact of the oil spills and the status of seismic surveying activity. We determined the following:
1. Off La Brea Point, we discovered and photographed copious amounts of sub-sea oil and recovered handfuls for the record. In doing so we demonstrate that the impact of the spill remains uncontained. Petrotrin, untroubled, announced that the seismic survey has officially begun–a highly frightening situation.
2. We observed and filmed an unreported and ongoing spill of hydrocarbons approximately 150 metres south east of Petrotrin's Trinity Platform 2.
3. Seismic boats were active in the water but it was not clear whether blasting had actually commenced.
Based on the evidence that the current oil spills have not been brought under control, and the fact that there are unknown quantities of submerged oil in the environment, and that Petrotrin has not stated how much oil has spilled into the Gulf (save and except for the 400,000 gallons spilled from the Pointe-a-Pierre facility), we are respectfully asking you (EMA) to put on hold the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) issued to Petrotrin to carry out the seismic surveys until a clean bill of health is given to the Gulf of Paria from these unsolved oil spills.
This is critical to our fisher-folk, as they are experiencing a drastic collapse in sales of Gulf of Paria catch since these oil spills began.
Our members on the north east coast of Trinidad and on the north east coast of Tobago–where we have discovered two new seismic surveys are planned to begin in March and May 14–have mandated that we write to you requesting special consideration to postpone approving any seismic "explosions" during spawning times, in spawning areas and in migratory pathways of commercial fish, until sufficient baseline data is gathered.
Our members are asking that this data be also collected during and after the proposed seismic survey. This will help to clarify the impacts, particularly on the commercial viability of the affected fisheries, and allow for accurate calculation of compensation matters.
Gary Aboud, Secretary
Terrence Beddoe, President
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea