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Fishermen express concern about dumping at sea

Some fishermen yesterday expressed concern about how the fishing industry could be impacted by Carnival’s dumping of 500,000 gallons of treated sewage in Bahamian waters in recent years.

A recent report revealed that Carnival cruise ships discharged “approximately 1,270 cubic meters of treated black water and 22 cubic meters of comminuted food waste” in Bahamian waters between June 4, 2017 and June 16, 2017.

Speaking to The Nassau Guardian about the report, Maurice Mallory, 46, who said he has worked as a fisherman for 20 years, described the recent revelation about the cruise line as alarming and called on the government to take action in protecting The Bahamas.

“It’s going to damage our fishing industry tremendously, so, as I [said] I hope The Bahamas government will deal with them to the full extent of the law to keep the fishermen and the Bahamians them safe in our marine life because our marine life is our bread and butter other than tourism,” Mallory said.

Ralph Murray, 58, who is the captain of the Electa, said he has worked as a fisherman for roughly 40 years.

Murray said he was not surprised by the revelation of Carnival’s dumping.

“I don’t feel like it is [anything new],” he said.

“They may have just gotten caught this time but I think that this has been an ongoing thing.”

Murray added: “You can’t put the blame on only one company or one industry. You know, any big boat that’s passing through is dumping dunnage wherever. Any type of pollution that’s added into the water isn’t a good thing.”

He said there is no need to differentiate between Bahamian and international waters with this incident because illegally dumping will be detrimental regardless of borderlines.

In 2016, after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the illegal dumping of oily bilge water into the ocean between 2005 and 2013, Carnival Corporation was fined $40 million by a U.S. court and put on a five-year probation.

The conditions of the probation included the development and implementation of an environmental compliance plan (ECP).

Steven Solow, who was appointed by a U.S. district judge and tasked with monitoring Carnival during its probation, recently released the findings of his first annual report.

The report revealed a number of instances where Carnival ships improperly discharged sewage and food waste. In some instances, the corporation was in violation of MARPOL and company procedures.

While calling on the government “to send a message to others” like Carnival, Gregory Brown, 54, who said he mainly fishes for conch, said he worries about how the dumping of sewage will affect his livelihood.

“I mean you don’t know until after how the effects will kick out,” he said.

“We don’t know right now until maybe the scientists or they send a few people out there where it happened so they can test the water in that area.”

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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