By Kingsley Emmanuel
VIEUX FORT fishermen are on edge after a recent conflict at sea between crew members of two fishing vessels of Vieux Fort, resulted in gunshots being fired.
THE VOICE understands that the conflict arose after a crew member of one boat caught a member of another vessel attempting to steal fish from his pots. The confrontation almost turned bloody at sea resulting in cutlasses being brandished during the confrontation, the owner of the pots rammed his boat into the other.
The controversy continued at the Vieux Fort Fishing Port, when a family member of one of the men in the confrontation, fired several shots at the owner of the boat, whose pots were allegedly tampered with. The man shot at had to plunge into the sea for safety. The incident occurred in broad daylight in full view of the public.
One man was arrested and charged in connection with the incident but some fishermen in Vieux Fort say the “war” has only just started.
The feuding parties have continued to threaten each other in the public on a regular basis, causing tension among the Vieux-Fort fishermen.
“I expect bloodshed at the Vieux Fort Fishing Port any time. The port is a hot spot,” one fisherman said.
THE VOICE was told that a number of fishermen in the south have stopped making fish pots because of theft.
Fisherman Albert Edmund lamented: “It’s a while since I have stopped making fish pots. The thieves are the ones who benefit from our investment.”
“Just recently, the thieves lifted all my fish pots at sea… I am fed up with this. Something must be done to stop them,” Barthelmy Christie, another fisherman said.
Lionel Harrow, another victim of the thieves said he will never think of making fish pots again. “It’s just a waste of time and money,” he said.
In the meantime, fishermen in the south are calling on the fisheries department and marine unit of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force to play their role in addressing the problem, which they say may soon spiral out of control.