Fishermen in the fishing capital are voicing a number of concerns as it relates to the Gouyave bio rock project, which was installed over a year ago.
However, fisheries officials’ say the area is demarcated and is soon to be a marine protected site.
The Gouyave Bio rock project is an initiative driven by the Grenada Community Development Agency (GRENCODA) along with the Gouyave Fishermen Cooperative Society Limited.
However, after a year of the installation of the bio rock project, the fishermen on the western side of the island are of the view that their livelihood is at stake and so too, may be the fish supply on the local markets.
Desmond Gill better known as Rampel, a fisherman by profession, shared the fishermen’s plight with the GBN.
“We are seine operators and that is what the fishing industry depending on, the seine for survival because that’s where who what provide bit for the thing. And so whenever you’re marking out anywhere that you put down the thing, we the seine men supposed to be there. And this whole area where they want to put say their MPA and bio rock, is ah area wey since I know myself as a little boy, am fifty odd years now and generations before me know is seine alone what’s been doing on that area dey.”
The fishermen are now calling on the relevant authorities to look into their concerns and provide feedback to the fisher folks on the Western side.
GBN meanwhile took the concern to Orlando Harvey, marine protected areas coordinator.
He clarified that bio rock structures in Gouyave are installed within existing reef structures to help with restoration.
Therefore any activities that will negatively affect the coral reef are prohibited.
“About ah little over a year ago we got notification that the beach seines have been operating in the area and there may have been some damage to the structure. The structures themselves were not destroyed but the corals that were growing on them however we seen significant breakage on the corals itself that were placed on the structure and have been growing for over a year. And Grenada legislation apart from the MPA legislation; the general fisheries legislation prohibits the destruction or the removal of corals so that area should not be an area where seining is allowed to happen irregardless of having the artificial reef structures there. So that’s something we need to get clear with the fishers and I think that’s where the confusion exists.”
Harvey said while the area is not yet officially a designated marine protected area, documents were put forward to cabinet for such approval.