IMA & EMA: Dead fish in Gulf of Paria appear to have been dumped

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 20:00

The Institute of Marine Affairs and Environmental Management Authority say preliminary results of its investigations on the thousands of dead fish found in the Gulf of Paria, seem to suggest the fish were dumped there.

The both bodies say many of the fish had red bruise marks on them and some were accompanied by net markings.

The following is a joint statement by the IMA and EMA:

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"A team comprising the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) headed by Dr Farahnaz Solomon, Fisheries Biologist, and representatives of the EMA’s Emergency Response and Investigations (ERI) Unit conducted a site visit to the Mosquito Creek and environs to investigate reports of a fish kill.

The area was surveyed by boat on July 21, 2016 and dead fish were observed close to the shore from Gulf View to the mouth of the Godineau River. The highest concentrations (hundreds) were seen off of Mosquito Creek and at the mouth of the Godineau River.

Ninety nine percent (99%) of the dead fish found were herrings (bait fish) approximately 4 inches in length. Other species include mullet and blinch. All specimens were in a moderate to advanced state of decomposition. No dying fish were observed indicating that this is not an on-going event. According to the IMA, herrings appeared to have bruises (red marks) along the body. The position of these red marks was variable and in some cases the red marks were accompanied by net impressions/ markings.

Fishermen interviewed indicated that herring/bait fish was currently being caught in the area. There were no visible signs of an oil spill or a red tide. Preliminary results indicate that this may be dumped fish. Water and sediment samples were collected by the EMA for testing, of which the results would be made available upon completion of the analyses."