Expect to pay TTD 50 per pound of fish in Tobago for Easter – ATFA

Expect to pay TTD 50 per pound of  fish in Tobago for Easter – ATFA

Scaling fish at a fish market.


PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad--Tobagonians can look forward to paying as much as TTD 45-50 (US $6.63-7.37) for a pound of fish for the Easter season unless the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) intervenes with a fuel subsidy.

  This point was made by Curtis Douglas, President of All Tobago Fisherfolk Association (ATFA) when he spoke with Guardian Media on Sunday.

  Douglas said Tobago’s fishing community is plagued with a plethora of problems. He said the increase in fuel prices has impacted drastically on fish prices. He said fish rose from TTD 20-25 (US $2.95-3.69) a pound to TTD 30 and 35 (US $4.42 and $5.16) a pound following the last increase in the price of fuel.

  He said ATFA is asking the THA for a TTD 0.50 (US $0.07) subsidy for every litre of fuel. Douglas said his association was asking the THA to do the subsidy through the ATFA. “We would have submitted our plan to show them how it’s been done, because even though they think they know, they don’t.

  “We are fishermen; we know what is needed, so we are saying quite clearly, what we are asking for is that THA would be able to subsidise some of these gas rebates through ATFA, so we will know the authentic men, people who are going out (to fish) and we will be able to address that and have the checks and balances according to how it is being used.”

  He said a TTD 0.50 fuel subsidy can see fish prices returning to TTD 20-25 a pound. He said once this takes place members of ATFA can then reduce prices which, he said, would greatly benefit consumers.

  Douglas said a “ghost” oil rig has also sent up prices. He said the rig passing in the northern and eastern coast of Tobago has damaged several fish attracting devices (FADs). However, when the rig damages the FADs the thousands of dollars expended in fuel goes down the drain.

  Douglas said ATFA had informed the THA about the problem with the rigs and called several oil exploration companies, who claim to know nothing about the rig. He said, “We would have called various oil companies: we called Shell, we called BPTT, we called Woodside, and none of them wants to take responsibility for it because none of them says it belongs to them, so we have a ghost rig in our waters and nobody in [Trinidad and Tobago – Ed.] T&T knows where it comes from, yet still it was parking up out there with our cutaway FADs and nobody, not even the minister of energy, can shed any light on it. I am really disappointed.”

  Douglas said no fishing association was notified of the movement of the rig that moved with a sense of arrogance through Tobago’s waters. “They are the big money people and nobody can’t do them nothing in this country.” Douglas said fishermen are waiting patiently for compensation. Douglas said the industry employs over 1,000 people in Tobago and directly impacts over 5,000 persons who depend of fishing for a livelihood. ~ Trinidad and Tobago Guardian ~

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