Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heat rises, fishing falls in the Venezuelan Caribbean

Humberto Márquez in IPS via Tierramérica: In the Southern Caribbean, along the Venezuelan coast, fishing is on the decline, surface waters are warming, rivers discharge tonnes of waste into the sea -- the waves seem to be licking the wounds left by these phenomena and devastating fishing practices like bottom trawling.

"Fish catches have already been reduced. The rivers that flow here pollute the sea and the waters are warming, so the fish are following other routes. What we used to catch 15 miles from the coast and six metres deep now we have to seek at 50 to 60 miles out and more than 20 metres deep -- and with inadequate boats," fisherman Daniel Córdoba, from Carenero, 80 kilometres east of Caracas, told Tierramérica.

Venezuela, a nation of 28 million people, produces about 400,000 tonnes of fish annually, according to the Socialist Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture, and has some 30,000 fishers working along its coasts, mostly in small-scale operations.

"A few years ago, along this strip of coastline, on any given day you saw a few dozen boats out fishing. I go out every day, and I think now, at times, there could be as many as a thousand," Cedrick McGregor, a veteran fisherman of Jamaican origin, told Tierramérica. Luis Acuña, an expert with the harpoon, agrees with Córdoba and McGregor that "what we used to catch on one or two days of fishing now takes four or five."….

Venezuelan fishing ships at anchor, shot by Wilfredo R Rodriguez H, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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