In 2015 CMS completed four Government funded projects aimed at supporting and protecting St Lucia’s fishermen, two in Praslin Bay, one at Savannes Bay and one in Canaries.
The work in Praslin Bay and Savannes Bay was much needed. Fishermen working on the south east coast have for years been struggling to launch their boats from the beaches or from makeshift precarious jetties in these shallow, muddy bays.
At certain times of year they are also hampered by massive amounts of sargassum weed washing in from the Atlantic, blocking access to the deeper water, fouling propellers and blocking cooling water intakes. In some areas inshore fishing and seamoss farming had become impossible due to the suffocating rafts of sargassum, which don’t go away.
When it reaches the shore and settles down to rot in the shallow water it forms a layer of silt and the horrific stench lingers for weeks, affecting local communities, attracting swarms of flies and creating a health hazard.
In some areas the very high levels of hydrogen sulphide gas dissolved into the water from the decomposing weed has resulted in the water becoming acidic enough to burn the skin of the fishermen trying to move their boats through it.