Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 10th 2013 Contents To my knowledge this promise has not been kept,"
De Verteuil said. He added that all over T&T fishermen
were complaining that they were not catching fish.
"This is related to the loss of mangroves so we are
appealing to the authorities to protect our mangroves,"
De Verteuil said.
During an interview last year, former works minister
Jack Warner said it was too expensive to build a cause-
way over the Oropouche mangroves. He had said, "A
causeway is almost double the cost of a highway and
it will not solve of the problems with the mangroves
because in any case you will have to damage the man-
grove as such. We have some damage. We have pro-
fessionals and experts who are deciding the best way
to do it and in the end the mangrove will not be dam-
Nidco working swiftly to deals with flooding
Meanwhile works are going on apace to prevent
further flooding at the Creek. National Infrastructure
Development Company (Nidco) president Dr Carson
Charles said last week that contractors will have to
lift the berm (earthen ledge) to prevent the water.
"At high tide, the water will back up in the mangrove
and then it will go down at low tide. What is happening
at high tide, when it starts to go into the mangrove,
it is coming over at one point. It is reaching the berm
and coming over into the road so they are repairing
that. They also have to lift the berm so that at high
tide the water will not reach and come over," Charles
He added that the problem will be solved when the
highway is built, because the entire roadway will be
higher than the sea level. Efforts to contact Environment
Minister Ganga Singh for comment proved futile as
calls to his cellular phone went unanswered.
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt November 10, 2013
MALE & FEMALE
Plus Weights Loss Pills
93 Rushworth St., San F'do 657-3382
Some of the valuable mangroves line the periphery of the Oropouche Swamp. PHOTOS: TONY HOWELL
Valuable mangroves are ploughed down during construction of the Solomon
Hochoy highway extension.
A week after brackish water from the
Gordineau mangroves flooded the Mosquito
Creek inconveniencing hundreds of
motorists, crab catchers have set up 24-
hour surveillance to monitor the Oropouche
Mangroves stretching for a mile along the
South Trunk Road from Paria Suites Hotel
to the Gordineau River have been cleared to
facilitate two lanes of the $7.2 billion Solomon
Hochoy Highway Extension. This is what is
being blamed for the flooding. Since then,
OAS workers have built a berm (earthen
ledge) to prevent the brackish water from
flooding the road.
However, president of the Crab, Conch
and Oyster Association (CCOA) Robert Nand-
lal said since highway construction began,
the mangroves have been threatened.
"Over 60 people earn their livelihoods by
catching crabs, conch and oysters in the
Oropouche swamp and since they cleared a
mile of the mangroves the nurseries have
been affected," Nandlal explained.
The highway is expected to pass through
mangroves, located along the coastline at
the Godineau swamp which is the breeding
ground for 29 species of fish and numerous
species of crustacean crabs, oysters, mammals,
rodents, reptiles, amphibians and birds. The
mangrove acts as a buffer between the sea
and the land and is a feeding ground for
shrimp and other commercial sea organisms
that feed on the nutrients deposited at the
mouth of the river.
While he was not against the construction
of the highway, Nandlal said an elevated road
over the mangroves was better for the envi-
"We have to protect the eco-system. The
Government has to remember that mangroves
are protected around the world and to interfere
with that would damage the entire eco-sys-
tem," Nandlal said.
During a meeting with his members on
Thursday, Nandlal said a decision was taken
to provide 24-hour surveillance of the man-
groves. He also called on other conservation
groups such as the Papa Bois Conservation
Group and Fishermen and Friends of the Sea
to join their fight.
'Oropouche swamp is
the least protected'
Saying the Oropouche swamp was the
least protected of the three swamps in
Trinidad, Nandlal added the members were
willing to work with the Government to pro-
tect the swamp.
"We will be the watchdogs because we
cannot allow our eco-system to be destroyed.
Flooding of that magnitude has never
occurred on the Mosquito Creek before. Usu-
ally we get sea water beating in and coming
onto the road. This time the water from the
swamp flooded the roadway causing hundreds
of motorists to be affected," Nandlal said.
He noted that proper engineering works
must be executed to prevent further flood-
ing.Meanwhile, director of the Papa Bois Con-
servation group Mark De Verteuil said his
team was willing to work with the CCOA.
"Mangroves are among the most important
parts of the marine environment. They are
incredibly important as nurseries for juvenile
fish, sharks and other species," De Verteuil
He added that a causeway should have
been built over the swamp rather than clearing
down the mangroves.
"There were engineering possibilities to
build a structure that would have allowed
the free flow of fresh and sea water. It would
have helped rejuvenate the swamp at the
mosquito creek. However, a short-sighted
decision was made to go for the cheapest
option and this was the worst option for the
environment," De Verteuil said.
He noted that culverts could have been
built to allow the mingling of sea and fresh
water, thereby preventing flooding.
'Govt signed international convention to
protect the mangroves'
De Verteuil said that T&T had signed an
international convention to protect the man-
"The Government agreed to a no net loss
of mangrove policy and that meant wherever
it was removed it would have to be replanted.
Crab, conch, oyster catchers unite as...
Mangroves threatened by
Contractors raise the berm to
prevent flooding at Mosquito Creek.
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