Fishermen haul in 19 sharks from Gulf

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 12:00

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