Trinidad’s state owned oil company Petrotrin were involved in a series of eleven oil spills over the period of December 17 – December 29 in 2013. It was reported that oil lines ruptured at the Gulf of Paria near the company’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. Initially it was reported as a single oil spill near the southwestern town of La Brea (the country’s capital for the oil and gas sector)by the end of the month , 10 more oil spills occurred. It is deemed to this day as the largest oil spill in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. Petrotrin has been facing scrutiny due to a report that revealed the pipeline may not have been inspected in over seventeen years. The company was subsequently fined $20 million by the Environmental Management Authority.
So what happened as a consequence of this Oil spill? Approximately 7,000 barrels of oil was leaked into water leaving hundreds of dead fish scattered upon the shoreline, oil lining near the roots of mangrove trees were also visible. Up to five months after the oil spill fish carcasses were still being washed upon the shore.
What causes this mass amount of dead fish ? Oil spills heavily pollute the water, it is darkly colored, this blocks the penetration of light to aquatic plants which uses to sunlight for photosynthesis to create their own food to sustain life, when this light is absent, this highly hinders their ability to do so. The plants which produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide and ammonia that the fish generates would no longer be alive, there would be decreased oxygen levels in the water , the fishes which depended on these plants lives are now in jeopardy , they will now be starved of oxygen and will now cannot successfully respire, this will cause a huge strain on the organism ,this would alter normal behavioral patterns and functions the fish would perform , and when they are eventually pushed beyond their tolerance range, which would lead to death of the organism (fishes) . All living organisms need oxygen to sustain life.
This oil spill has not only affected the ecosystem and wildlife feeding relationships but it also affected persons who reside in the southwestern peninsula town of La Brea near the Gulf of Paria who uses fishing as a source of income and livelihood. This was not the first time dead fish carcasses were seen here, as it was previously spotted in 2010 after the DEEPWATER HORIZON OILSPILL of 2010 which was regarded as the worst marine oil spill in history. The only way to mitigate such large scale fish kills is to stop the oil leak as soon as possible and to make clean up efforts the prime concern.
For more reading about the Petrotrin Oil spill at the Gulf of Paria , please check http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2014-03-29/more-fish-kill.
Be sure to check back next week on more interesting information about Oil spills!