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The Environmental Management Authority and the Institute of Marine Affairs must carry out their duties properly and with integrity.

The Environmental Management Authority and the Institute of Marine Affairs must carry out their duties properly and with integrity.

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Corporate Secretary, Garry Aboud

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Corporate Secretary, Garry Aboud

This was the sentiment expressed by Secretary of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea Gary Aboud on Friday, while he toured the Gulf of Paria by boat, investigating recent fish kills.

During the two-hour tour which began at the mouth of the Godineau River and went to the Aripero Wetlands, Aboud disputed the EMA and IMA’s findings about the fish kill in the Gulf of Paria, saying that the thousands of dead fishes seen at sea were in fact fresh kill.

Activist Edward Moodie who organised the tour, as well as the fisherman who captained the boat, also examined the fishes and declared them fresh kills.

“These fishes would have died overnight, as their gills were still red and their bodies had not started to decompose yet,” Moodie noted.

On Thursday, the EMA and IMA agencies sent out a joint press release, stating the dead fishes which had been washing ashore in the Gulf since Monday were dumped by fishermen.

The release stated that the fishes, herring, catfish and mullet, had red marks about their bodies which indicated they were trapped in a net.

Aboud however found that the dead fishes have lesions on them, a symptom of exposure to the chemical Corexit, which was used in the Gulf during the 2013 oil spill.

“We believe the lesions are being caused by the Corexit. This area where all of the dead fish are, is the exact same area where the Corexit was used; these fishes have no net marks on them”, he said.

Aboud also said that if what the EMA and IMA stated in their reports is true, then it is highly coincidental that influences other than Corexit would occur in the same zone, the Petrotrin Red Zone, which Petrotrin had barred off and stopped people from fishing in.

In early 2014, Petrotrin had cordoned off an area in the Gulf and paid fishermen compensation to stay away from the contaminated area.

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