T&T fisher folk protest seismic “bombings”

(Trinidad Express) Lobby group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea yesterday staged a protest in the waters off the International Waterfront, Port of Spain, to bring attention to plans by Petrotrin to conduct a seismic survey, which, it claims, will devastate fish stock and affect the livelihood of fisher folk.

Pirogues involved in the protest boated into an area between the Port of Spain water taxi terminal and Hyatt hotel. There were signs on the boats which stated “Govt non policy murdering our environment” and “seismic surveys collapsing our fisheries”.

In anticipation of the protest, Petrotrin on Wednesday issued

a statement defending the survey, stating that only two per cent of fishing will be restricted during the seismic survey. The survey is expected to begin in December, and will continue 24 hours a day for five months.

Petrotrin stated that the Ocean Bottom Cable (OBC) survey  “will be employing improved technology utilising the discharge of compressed air to generate pulses for recording. No explosives are being used. Available research has indicated that the sound produced during similar surveys is comparable to many naturally occurring marine sounds and that the impact on fish is minimal and short term.

In some instances, the fish in the immediate vicinity of the emitting device move to lower depths resulting in an increased fish catch thereafter”.

The company stated that fisher folk will have access to 98 per cent of the survey area (510 square kilometres) and at any time, only an area of twelve square kilometres will be restricted.“Despite claims that Petrotrin offshore infrastructure has negatively impacted the fishing community, evidence has shown that the company 26 platforms and all the supporting structures in the Trinmar marine area encourage the aggregation of fish.

There is no conclusive evidence to support the claim that the proposed seismic survey, using the modern techniques, will have a negative impact on fisheries”, Petrotrin stated.



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