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IMA: Parasite link to dead fish

By Cecily Asson Thursday, April 3 2014

Preliminary findings of the tests conducted by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) on mullet carcasses found on Carat Shed Beach, La Brea, have revealed the cause of death may be linked to a disease or could be due to ingestion of harmful food organisms.

In a release yesterday, the IMA stated their agency has been monitoring the recent fish kill in La Brea and from observations, the mortality rate is very high especially among the specie known as the white mullet.

The statement further read, “This observation suggests that this is not a typical fish kill since fish kills will generally affect other species. Examination of the mullet carcasses revealed that they were heavily infected with parasitic nematodes and that they are not yet in spawning condition.” These preliminary findings,” the statement said, “suggest that the cause of death of the fish may be either disease-related or due to ingestion of harmful food organisms. The Institute of Marine Affairs is collaborating with the University of the West Indies to determine the exact cause of the mortality.”

When contacted yesterday, La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffery, who has been very vocal on the matter, told Newsday he was not comforted by the findings of the IMA and has reiterated his call for an independent investigation to be done.

He said, “I not comforted by that at all. I am not happy with that at all. I have found that for the time this thing has happened, they have been very hesitant and very secretive. I don’t accept these findings at all.”

“In one instance,” he continued, “they were kind of hesitant saying that no Corexit was used. When you show them that the Corexit was used, now they dangling again. But when somebody dies, I say, when somebody dies it will be a different story.”

Jeffery then made another call for an independent investigation.

He said, “I would like to see an international independent organisation do the testing.”

The lives of scores of residents living on the beach front at Carat Shed Beach, Pt Sable Beach and Coffee Beach, La Brea were turned upside down following the December 17, 2013 massive oil spill in the Gulf of Paria.

In the clean-up operations, Corexit 9500 was used to clean the beaches. Jeffery is convinced the chemical has only now started to affect marine life thereby causing huge quantity of mullet fish to turn up dead on the beach. He has been calling for the evacuation of residents who he said have been suffering with skin and breathing problems.

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