Thu | Feb 2, 2023

Gift from the storm

Published:Saturday | November 6, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishries and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will spend much of today trying to determine the cause of the massive fish find in the sea near Rae Town in east Kingston yesterday.

But that is not an issue for the dozens of residents of the seaside community who spent a big portion of yesterday collecting the several species of fish that were near the coastline.

Parrot, grunt, and whitening were among the species found in the area close to the Rae Town fishing village.

"Thank you, Lord," said one young man as he helped himself to fish of varying sizes.

"Tomas carry some thing for we," said another woman as she waded into the sea to catch the fish which were obviously struggling.

Up to late yesterday, officials of NEPA and the Ministry of Agriculture were carrying out their investigations to determine what had led to the unusual occurrence.

But several residents of Rae Town were convinced that Tropical Storm Tomas was responsible for their good fortune.

The residents pointed to 2008 when winds and rains associated with Tropical Storm Gustav pushed hundreds of fish to the shore.

"This is not the first time this happen, and me sure we will see this again," said an elderly man.

Following that 2008 incident, marine biologist Peter Gayle told The Gleaner that the fish could have jumped from the sea as a result of being robbed of oxygen because of excessive nutrients that could have washed into the marine environment from land.

Environmentalist Peter Espeut had theorised that the fish could have found themselves on land because of a condition called chemical-oxygen demand, in which chemicals in the water could be robbing the fish of oxygen, forcing them to find air above the ocean.

"With the Kingston Harbour so polluted, it might be a possible explanation," Espute said in the post-Gustav period.