Fisheries Authority says only Windalco has permit to restock Rio Cobre with fish

The National Fisheries Authority has indicated that only U C Rusal Windalco has been issued a permit to restock the Rio Cobre with no more than 30,000 tilapia seed stock fry and fingerling, at multiple locations within the watershed.


Further, it said only U C Rusal Windalco, and the competent authorities, have been involved in the restocking.


The NFA was reacting to claims by Peoples National Party President Mark Golding about the fulfillment of a promise to restock the Rio Cobre, following last year’s fish kill.


In a statement, the NFA said a condition of the permit is that an environmental freshwater expert be engaged to undertake environmental assessments prior to, during and after the restocking activity.


This environmental expert was engaged by Windalco and carried out extensive research prior to the commencement of the restocking activity.


The NFA said yesterday, over 8,000 tilapia seed stock were introduced to the Rio Cobre: 4,000 seed stock were introduced in the vicinity of flat bridge and another 4,000 were introduced at the Rio Pedro tributary in the vicinity of the Bog Walk bridge.


In both instances, the variety of tilapia introduced included ‘black perch’, ‘red tilapia’ and ‘rocky mountain’.


The selection of these initial sites was guided by the recommendation of the freshwater expert based on the ecological assessment carried out.


The authority said fish at the fingerling stage will reach maturity within 4 to 6 months, while the younger fry will reach maturity within 8 to 10 months.


This means that by December, the fishing community will be able to harvest fish from the restocked population.


The NFA said the release of seed stock at other locations will be guided by and based on ecological assessment of the aquatic environment.


This assessment includes, analysis of the water quality, as well as the composition, abundance and diversity of the fauna, specifically invertebrates and fish, and flora.


This will provide a fulsome view of the health of the river and the capacity of potential sites to receive introduced fish.


It said the restocking process was guided by extensive consultation with the community, the NFA’s technical staff, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and Windalco.


It said the request for restocking of the river, which was initiated by the community, was deemed important enough for consideration, however the authority sought to ensure that this was guided by science.


The NFA said it will continue to monitor the restocking activity at each site which will be guided by the expert, as well as the results of the ecological assessment.


This is to ensure that the livelihoods of the fishing communities will be positively impacted.




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