La Brea Fisherfolk Association president Alvin La Borde renewed his call for a fishing facility in La Brea after fishermen hauled in 19 sharks, including one about seven foot long, off the Gulf of Paria.
La Borde was at Coffee Beach on Thursday where captain Gopaul Balkissoon, an experienced fisherman and driver, and his crew hauled in a catch of 19 sharks ranging from 60 pounds upwards and comprising blackfin, bull shark and one sand shark.
The sand shark weighed about 150 pounds and was seven feet seven inches long. Balkissoon said his largest catch in the past few weeks was 25 sharks.
So many sharks swimming in waters off La Brea, about 15 miles, is not unusual, says Balkissoon.
He uses shark nets to catch them. As soon as they return to shore, the sharks are cleaned, sometimes cut up and placed on ice. Balkissoon sells the sharks to vendors for about $10 a pound and they, in turn, sell it to customers for about $20 to $25 a pound.
La Borde said yesterday was another good day for the fisherfolk, but the problem is that they have no fishing facility in La Brea.
“We have engaged fisheries and them for over ten years now.”
Between 2011 to 2012, he said, “We went to numerous meeting and went through all the different procedures with Petrotrin and everybody concerning obtaining a parcel of land for that fish landing site and to date, everything has died a natural death.
Under the last administration, La Borde said he was even told that the money was going to be allocated for the fish landing site. The fisherfolk asked for the site to be built at Pierre Road, between Coffee and Carat Shed beaches for easy access by the fish vendors.
With over 300 fishermen, registered and unregistered, in La Brea, La Borde said a fishing site is urgently needed.
“The fishermen have no storage facilities. I go to San Fernando and buy ice and then sell it to the fishermen. One of the important things we appreciate with Petrotrin is that they had brought in people to teach us what is the proper way in which to process and store fish.”
He called on the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and the Government to build a fish landing site for the fishermen in the shortest possible time.
- by Sascha Wilson. Photo by Kristian De Silva