FISERMEN and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is calling on the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to stop shrimp trawlers from operating illegally within the country’s territorial waters.
In a release FFOS stated that that shrimp trawling has been likened, by the World Resources Institute in Washington DC, to dynamite fishing in terms of sustainability. For this reason, FFOS stated that the Fisheries (Control of Demersal Trawling) Regulations specifically permit trawling on the North Coast:
- From November 15th to January 15th
- Two (2) nautical miles from the coast (point to point)
- West of Saut d’Eau Island only
- Never under cover of night and not from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
FFOS stated, “Unfortunately, fellow fishermen under the watchful gaze of our Coast Guard, are openly trawling inside two miles, west of Saut d’Eau island and commence work at 4 a.m. each day.
“FFOS have reported these violations to the Coast Guard repeatedly over the past week and have had no relief or interdiction in stopping this lawlessness.
“Our North Coast artisanal community-based pirogue fishermen set their pots in this exact area where they capture red fish which in turn, feed on the shrimp.
“When the Shrimp trawlers steam through this protected area, they destroy the fish pots and create a desertification of the marine flora and fauna which is devastating our coastal communities.
“FFOS appeal to the Honorable Minister of National Security to do more than pay lip service to the conduct of the Coast Guard and to ensure that our fisherfolk are protected, that our fishery is protected, and that environmentally sensitive and environmentally regenerative areas which are protected in law are in fact protected.
“The law is not only for some and not for others. FFOS call on the Honorable Minister of National Security Stuart Young to investigate this continuous and ongoing lawlessness which is devastating our North coast communities.
“FFOS also call on the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat to report to the nation on his apparently vacuous and misleading statements that his Government will ban, retool and/or compensate shrimp trawlers. Why are empty promises made, then broken, and forgotten? Is this good governance?
“Fisherfolk are suffering in silence from Government’s neglect of grassroots issues. We call on our respected leaders to step forward act honorably.”
And in a video posted with the release, FFOS Secretary Gary Aboud called the Coast Guard PBX, but there was no answer.
Aboud said the trawlers were destroying the nets and parts of the small fishermen and when they called the Coast Guard they do not respond.
Watch Gary Aboud’s video below: