Watch: Mangroves allegedly removed, jetty built in Claxton Bay
Questions have been raised over the removal of mangrove trees in the Claxton Bay area along with the construction of a fishing jetty.
Conservation group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) said in a post to social media on Wednesday that reports were received of the allegedly illegal structure.
"FFOS has received reports of the construction of an illegal coastal structure ( a wooden jetty) just north of Claxton Bay behind Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited."
The group said mangrove trees have been trimmed and wooden platforms assembled on-site to build the jetty.
"Mangrove trees are being trimmed and built wooden platforms are being assembled on-site to form the Jetty. Residents claim that the activity has been taking place for the past one (1) week. It is believed that this construction is being carried out by the owners of pleasure boats in the area," the group said.
The FFOS said they have submitted a complaint to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
The group noted that construction of a jetty is considered an activity which may cause 'serious environmental impact' and requires a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) from the EMA.
"The establishment of a jetty has been listed as Designated Activity 13 in the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) Designated Activities Order, Legal Notice 103 of 2001 (as amended). It is therefore considered to be an activity that may cause serious environmental impact."
'Pursuant to section 35(2) of the Environmental Management (EM) Act, 2000, no person is permitted to proceed with any designated activity unless such person has applied for and received a CEC. Further, Section 62(f) of the EM Act provides that it is an environmental requirement for a person to apply for and obtain a CEC," the group said.
"Obey the law...apply for a CEC before pursing with such activities," the group said.
Loop News has reached out to the Ministry of Planning and Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries for comment.
$20,000 fine for removal of mangroves
Under the Forests Act, the unlawful removal of red, black or white Mangroves (included in the Second Schedule and referred to in the Act as 'timber') carries a fine upon conviction of $20,000.
According to a 2013 Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) report titled 'Mangrove Conservation in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies', mangrove forests at North Claxton Bay measure approximately 0.9 square kilometres and consists of black and white mangroves. The forest has been threatened by land reclamation which took place in 1979 and in the late 1990s.
North Claxton Bay is impacted on the north side by encroachment from the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and on the eastern edge by illegal housing.
The bay is utilised by fisherfolk who harvest mussels, shrimp and fish.