…prices up by 25%
Fisher folks of Number 43 Village, Corentyne, Berbice are facing a challenge to work, since the channel they use to access the sea is clogged by bushes and a mud bank, reportedly not having been cleaned and cleared for months.
The situation is having an impact on the cost of fish on the Corentyne, as fishing crews are forced to wait for hours on high tide in order to get out to sea. There are also reports of boats having been grounded for days before the tied became high enough to refloat them.
Many of the fishermen — who say they are dissatisfied with work being done to maintain the Number 43 channel — also complained that they have had to change the propellers of their boats frequently. A propeller costs at least $80,000.
Over one hundred fisher folk are being affected, including the catchers and sellers.
Recent efforts to clear the channel by way of pumping water out to sea resulted in temporary relief, but the fishermen are calling for a long term solution.
Regional Chairman David Armogan said siltation would occur once rain is not falling continually. He explained that the mud comes from the sea, and once there is not a constant flow of water going outwards, siltation would occur.
“That is one of the problems we have with all the river mouths in Berbice, where once there is a dry period there will be lots of siltation,” Armogan said.
Fisher folks are of the view that both the outfall channel and the siltation at the mouth of the channel where it meets the ocean should be dredged.
The Regional Chairman said the cost and frequency at which it will have to be done makes it almost impossible.
However, Armogan explained that it has to be done that way.
“If you did before, then you will have to do it again three weeks after. This is what we have been constantly doing. Every time there is a rainy season and we find that there is a need for drainage, we have to dig the channel. What I have noticed at Number 43 is that even though we tried to provide temporary relief by pumping water through the canal into the sea, we find that there is heavy siltation way in front where it connects with the ocean. Therein lies the problem, because outside there it is not easy to dig, because you would have to put a machine on a pontoon and that is pretty expensive. Even if we do that, when the dry weather comes again, we will have the same problem developing. I don’t think we can afford to do that all the time,” Armogan declared.
At the Port Mourant Market, the price for fresh has increased by about twenty-five percent. One vendor attributed this to the reduction of available fish, caused by the extra time being spent waiting at the head of the Number 43 outfall channel on the extra high tide.
With no long-term answers from the Government, the fishermen are now wondering whether the Government has turned its back on the industry.
The Chairman said one of the best remedies is for the fisher folk to have their boats traverse as frequently as possible so as to maintain some degree of accessibility.