Alligator Pond in Manchester
FISHERMEN in Alligator Pond in Manchester have claimed they are being tormented by two plagues, dolphins and red seaweed, which they say are having a negative impact on their business.
A team from the Jamaica Observer visited the fishing community on Saturday and fishermen, who had gathered under a tree they referred to as the headquarters, spewed out their frustration over dolphins destroying their fish pots and nets.
The fishermen claimed that the dolphins regularly play with, and relocate the fish pots.
They explained that the situation is so bad that fishermen have been blaming others and accusing them of stealing. As it relates to the red seaweed, they said it prevents fish from entering the pots.
Vandal Forde (right) demomstrates to the Jamaica Observer how red seaweed would form a ‘sheet’ on fish nets and pots, preventing fish from being caught. (Photos: Karl Mclarty)
According to Blain Sinclair, “Di dolphins take away the pots and you can’t find them back. Dem mek you a argue with each other because you think somebody take them. They create pure damage. Dem mek you spend a lot for gas. If you catch ten fish, dem gone wid nine,” said Sinclair as he underscored that fishing is a costly venture.
Sinclair said it costs $30,000 to buy wires to make fish pots, plus bamboo for $4,000 each. They also use sticks, which cost around $1,200 per bundle.
Although people laughed when a fisherman by the name of Giggs said, “The Government must carry the dolphins to Dolphin Cove,” he was not joking.
Lamenting the cost of maintaining their livelihood, Giggs said “We can’t bother with them,” in reference to the dolphins.
Alligator Pond fishermen in Manchester push a boat ashore after it arrived from sea on Saturday, February 19, 2023.
“You have different people who work on different stages when making the fish pots; every stage is a different money. If you do about ten fish pots, from start to finish it will run you about $120,000 to $130,000. The Government needs to do something about the dolphins because the fishing a guh mash up. Things are getting worse; dem a mash up both net and pot. We buy gas by the gallon and it costs about $1,200 for a gallon. To fill one of the five-gallon bottles it cost $6,000. It doesn’t pencil out if you have to burn three or four.
“Gas expense alone is $15,000 to $20,000 every time you go out to sea, and you don’t have to be going far. More time we use all 20 gallons of gas. If we are to go to Pedro Cays, a drum of gas wi affi talk about over $60,000 fi full one drum — and we in Alligator Pond don’t get anything from the Government,” lamented Giggs.
In relation to the red seaweed that the fishermen complained about, Giggs said “the red slime take over the sea. If you go out and set your net, a pure red slime you take up. It looks like morass and it stops you from catch fish because dem naa go inna di net”.
Vandal Forde, who walked through a group of his colleagues, stepped forward to affirm that his colleagues’ complaints about dolphins and seaweed are authentic.
Alligator Pond, Manchester (Photos: Karl Mclarty)
“As you set the pots the dolphins push them up and have it up inna di air playing with. They give people bad name because when me set my pot, me a seh a somebody gone wid it so me now start walk with machete fi chop up dat man, just because the dolphin put it where him want to put it. It’s a wicked act. If we catch one and police know, a prison you gone. Not even turtle we can catch.
“When the morass tek di pot dem, it come right across the wire and block the fish. The morass scare off the fish so no fish or lobster will go in it. If this pot was to serve a year, it only lasts four months because the morass rotten it before time. The morass comes every year but this year it worse. Every year lasts around two to three months and when the hard breeze come, it blow it away. However, we haven’t been getting much hard breeze and a long time now it has been out there,” said Forde.
Alligator Pond fisherman, Giggs, explains his frustration with dolphins who destroy or change the location of fish nets and pots preventing fishermen from making handsome profits.