Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 25th 2013 Contents A5
Friday, October 25, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
CAMILLE CLARKE AND ALEEM KHAN
Fishermen in T&T received over $77.3 mil-
lion in payments as compensation for seismic
activity from five oil companies between 2010
and 2013, the Ministry of Energy reported
The ministry released the information hours
after dozens of fishermen from across Trinidad
staged a demonstration in downtown Port-of-
Spain yesterday to vent their anger at the impact
that seismic surveys have had on fish stock.
The protest took place near the Ministry of
Energy, Waterfront Complex.
According to the Ministry of Energy docu-
ment, Centrica, Niko Resources, BGTT, bpTT
and Repsol forked out $7,008,000 in 2010;
$26,896,949 in 2011; $29,025,260.83 in 2012
and $14,375,986.44 in 2013. That totals
$77,306,196.27 for the four-year period.
The Business Guardian reported in its Sep-
tember 27, 2012 edition that when oil companies
conducted seismic operations offshore, they
usually compensated fishermen for lost catch
and to stay away from their installations.
T&T s largest oil and gas producer, bpTT,
said in the article they paid about $8,545 a
month a boat to the fisherfolk during the seismic
The leaders of associations of fisherfolk,
quoted in the Business Guardian article, said
the seismic surveys scared away the fish and
damaged the seabed.
The companies report these figures to the
ministry to recoup part of it and benefit from
tax incentives on capital expenditure.
Compensatory payments to fishermen for
the loss of earnings as a result of seismic activity
were confirmed by Peter Glodon, the president
of the T&T Unified Fisher Folk (TUFF) and the
vice- president of the organisation, Kishore
Boodram, both of whom participated in yes-
terday s demonstration.
At the protest, some fishermen held placards
and protested on the boardwalk while approx-
imately 50 fishing vessels gathered in the har-
Fishermen from Cocorite and Sea Lots and
as far as Icacos, Cedros and Blanchisseuse took
The fishermen on the boats used bullhorns,
flags and other methods to get the attention
of spectators who gathered on the shore to
watch the spectacle.
In an interview at the protest, Boodram, who
is also the president of the Claxton Bay Fishing
Association, said fishing stock had been depleted
by seismic surveys being done in local waters.
The surveys use reflected sound waves to
determine suitable sites for underwater drilling
They are said to disturb and distress marine
life, especially cetaceans, such as whales, por-
poises and dolphins.
Petrotrin announced last week it would be
doing surveys for five months, starting in
Boodram said: "It is time to stop, cause it
has an impact on the livelihood of fishermen.
Every day it is depleting more. We have them
pounding on the seabed and in hatchery areas.
"What will happen? The fish stock will die
and it is so bad that it has collapsed already.
The hearts of fishermen are burdened so we
can t take any more."
Boodram said the hatching areas and man-
groves were being "attacked" and the surveys
prevented wildlife from surviving or procreat-
"They need to find another method because
this has an impact on the industry. Our children
have to live," he said.
He said that had been a problem for turtles
coming in to lay their eggs, dolphins and fish.
In addition to the seismic surveys, trawlers,
pollution and piracy have depleted the fishing
He added: "We wrote to several ministers.
Piracy is also another issue. We can t live with
that. Every day fishermen go out there, they
risk their lives.
"Oil and gas will finish but this was the
first sector in T&T. They are treating us like
vagrants and we are willing to work."
Secretary of Fishermen and Friends of the
Sea Gary Aboud said a proper study was need-
"Since the 1990s, they have been doing
this and they made an announcement last
week that they will be starting in December,"
President of TUFF Peter Glodon said the
boat owners alone were compensated $222
a day by the Government during the survey
He added: "That does not include the cap-
tain, the net repairers, the vendors. It can t
even buy gas. It is ridiculous.
"We have been trying to get an audience
with the minister for the past two years and
the foreigners are coming and doing it and
our local people are not showing an inter-
Glodon complained about the lack of con-
sultation with fishermen on the issue of the
He asked: "They picked up momentum
without consultation. Who has the God-
given right to destroy a man s working envi-
ronment without consultation?
"Nobody. That s what they are forcing on
us."Diane Christian-Simmons, president of
the Cocorite Facility and Fish Market Asso-
ciation, said the seismic surveys should follow
proper regulations just as in any other coun-
try.She added: "T&T is basically an oil-based
country that does not have proper regulations.
They are raping and murdering our fisheries
and it has dropped to nil.
"We want to be treated equally and pro-
tected the same as other countries. We are
asking the Government to hold their hand
until there is proper regulations."
EMA on seismic tests:
A release from the Environmental Man-
agement Authority said specific conditions
were set out for offshore seismic testing.
"These conditions make provisions for
minimising the impact posed to sea turtles
and marine mammals.
"The conditions generally state that no
seismic surveys will be conducted during the
turtle-nesting period from March-August,
the main leatherback turtle nesting season,
and also during February as the leathers are
Energy companies say:
Petrotrin said during the survey no explo-
sives will be used but "a discharge of com-
pressed air to generate pulses for recording."
In a media release yesterday, Centrica Energy
said it adhered to health, safety and environ-
It said it had no plans for conducting seismic
surveying operations in T&T but stated the
conduct of seismic surveys was deemed a
"designated activity" that was subject to the
application, granting and terms and conditions
of a Certificate of Environmental Clearance
from the Environmental Management Author-
The release added: "All interested or poten-
tially affected stakeholders are allowed to scru-
tinise these CEC applications and voice any
concerns they may have with the proposed
activity in question.
"The development of a compensation frame-
work for affected fisherfolk and as well as having
marine mammal observers to point out and
record mammal sightings for avoidance during
the survey is noted."
After city protest over seismic surveys ministry says:
$77.3m in four years
Fishermen protest in their boats near the Ministry of Energy, Waterfront Complex, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTOS: MARYANN AUGUSTE
Links Archive October 24th 2013 October 26th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page