Oil and fish do not mix
Kaieteur News- Every morning, hundreds of people gather for work – both formal and informal – at the Meadow Bank jetty. The ice plant workers provide cold chain services to the dozens of fishing boats, which dock at that jetty every day.
When the fishing boats moor, their catch is unloaded by dozens of porters, pushing carts temporarily. Fish on the wharf are sold in wholesale and retail quantities. Every morning, more than 100 people have gathered there selling and cleaning fish and a few hundred more come to buy them for resale at the markets or for fish and restaurant shops.
The fishing industry supports a number of industries, including those trading in fuel and lubricants and fishing gear. It provides employment for boat builders and other craftsmen. But the biggest employer in the fishing industry is fishing processing plants that employ hundreds of workers, most of them women.
Fish exports bring in more money than sugar. It directly employs so many people with sugar but brings in almost three times as much export earnings as sugar.
Many families rely on the fishing industry for their daily bread. And when it comes to our diets, fish is the main source of protein eaten.
When Vice President Jagdeo thus declares that he cannot support the extraction of so much of our oil in the shortest time possible, he cannot afford to be myopic in his assessment of the costs and benefits of ‘ This rapid exploitation of our oil.
Its Expiration Policy has far-reaching implications, particularly for the fishing industry.
Fisheries can become a cause for the oil sector. Oil operations in the Stabroek and Canje blocks are vulnerable to chasing fishing stocks into colder waters as a result of seismic studies, ballast water dumping and effluent removal from oil production.
There is a fierce debate at the moment about the Trump administration relaxing the use of deep-penetration seismic explosions to search for oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico. The use of airguns for deep penetration under the seabed has raised concerns about its potential impact on aquatic life. Critics claim the sound explodes into confusion and chases fish away from the area and uproot the vegetation necessary to survive.
As yet, there has been no debate about whether the oil companies operating at Guybro’s Stabroek or Canje Blocks use similar or similar airguns to those expected to be used in the Gulf of Mexico. What is known is that local sailors are often warned to stay clear of areas where seismic studies are being conducted.
This indicates a potential threat to marine stocks.
Oil vessels dispose of ballast water to the sea. Ballast water is used to balance the stability of the vessel. It is stored in a shell and provides stability. The oil vessels operating in Guyana would take ballast water from other parts of the world.
This ballast water contains organisms, which may be foreign and harmful to our marine stocks.
According to Bikram Singh, writing in Marine Insight, ballast water is a major source for the introduction of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens into the sea and estuaries but the problem does not end there.
During the drilling process, a chemical is used to pass through the underground layers.
This chemical can seep into the water and find its way into the marine waters. When the oil is brewed, it contains mud, liquid effluent and gas.
The mud and liquid effluent can contain traces of chemicals that can be harmful to fish and all of this is released into the sea.
The water released into the sea is at very high temperatures, above the boiling point and this can increase the sea temperature and make it unsuitable for fishing.
Also, if the fish contains the toxins contained in the effluent, then this may find its way into the food chain. Once this happens and people get sick, this is the end of people buying local fish.
Jagdeo is said to like fish. But it will not want to eat fish that come from chemically-laden fishing grounds.
So the debate about the country’s Expulsion Policy can only relate to the rate at which our oil is extracted. It has to factor in other variables including the health and environmental risks associated with seismic exploration, ballast water dumping and oil producing waste products, which are left to sea and which can find its way to bass. fishing grounds.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.)