Dead pelicans are continuing to wash ashore on the beaches of La Brea more than a week after oil pellets and sheets of crude oil surfaced off Carat Shed Beach, Coffee Beach, Station Beach and Point Sable.
However, president of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association Alvin La Borde said the discovery of the dead pelicans may not have anything to do with the oilspill.
Saying pelicans usually show up dead during the start of the dry season, La Borde said, "I can't see how this is related to the oil spill. Pelicans usually die around the dry season. I don't know why. This has been happening for years now."
Asked whether he believed that the fish stocks were contaminated, La Borde said it was up to the Institute of Marine Affairs, the Environmental Management Authority and the Ministry of Health to determine this.
La Borde also said it was important for the citizenry to know the toxicity levels of the Gulf of Paria, adding, "It is not only pelicans who are dying under suspicious circumstances, but humans as well."
Meanwhile, secretary of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea Gary Aboud said birds and bottom feeding fish also continue to wash ashore sick and dying.
"Today there are two dead pelicans (one of which the EMA has taken for testing). Yesterday there were another two dead pelicans. Last week there were over eight pelicans found dead in total. Pelicans have been frequently dying only on these oil spill affected beaches and only since the disastrous December 17th 2013 oil spills," Aboud said.
Dismissing reports that the birds died of heat stroke or by diving in shallow waters and breaking their necks, Aboud said his group was determined to get answers.
"Under the Freedom of Information Act, FFOS have requested copies of the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) lab reports on the fish which were sent overseas and found to be safe to eat," he said.
He added, " When/if these documents are made available, the FFOS will immediately examine all its details, including the chain of custody (where did the samples originate, analytical methodology and what were the results of the analysis) and we will report back to the public on whether the report disproves the FFOS findings that “significant" levels of cancer causing Poly-Cyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured in the fish and in the sand in the near shore areas of La Brea.
Aboud called on government to respond to the fishery contamination.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh said the IMA will be meeting with the fisherfolk to discuss the state of the water in March. Fishermen from over 14 fishing villagers are expected to attend the meeting.
SOURCE: www. guardian.co.tt (Radhica Sookraj)
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