Fish mongers buying fish from fishermen at various wharfs in the Western Area have accused the latter of pouring petrol on fish catch as a means of preserving while out in the sea.
Fatu Turay, a fish monger at Shellar River at Goderich in the Western Area Rural District, claimed that many fishermen who go to long distances to catch fish are in the habit of pouring petrol on their catch in order to preserve it. She added that when fish mongers subsequently buy from them the fish initially look fresh but will soon go bad.
“Sometimes you will smell the petrol on it, but when you question them they will deny it. They will tell you all sort of things to convince you that they are not pouring petrol on the fish catch,” she explained.
She told our reporter the alleged practice by fishermen was incurring them big loss as they are not guaranteed refund for damage to fish they buy from wharfs.
The fish monger said most times fishermen take along bags of ice so as to preserve the fish, but when the ice melt after many days out in the sea they pour petrol on the fish catch as preservative.
However, Paul Jackson, captain and owner of four fishing boats that have identical inscriptions “World Vision” at Shellar wharf in Goderich denied the accusation.
He said the fish catch is usually susceptible to perishing in May, at the start of the raining season, adding that at this time of the year the sea becomes too warm.
“Any fish catch during this time will have a white gill which is an indication that it is getting out of hands. The white gill fish are mostly bought by fish mongers that dry fish and not those that sell raw ones,” he explained.
He denied pouring petrol on fish catch in order to keep it fresh, adding that he always takes with him 40 bags of ice and 40 gallons to petrol to sea.
“The 40 bags of ice can serve me for the few days that will have to take at sea. I cannot buy 40 gallons of fuel and spill it on fish catch, that is a waste of money from my own point of view,” he stated.
He disclosed that only a certain specie of fish could go without ice for long hours without going rot, adding that fishermen leave the wharf at 11p.m. and return at 6a.m.