by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Praedial larceny at experimental plots of seamoss
- Seamoss species cultivated is Eucheuma cottonii, not indigenous to Grenada
Dr Ashley John is convinced that thieves are targeting him after the latest spate of praedial larceny at his experimental plots of seamoss. On Sunday, around $3,000 worth of seamoss was stolen. This newest loss comes a month and two weeks after he lost just over $2,000 of seamoss.
“Well, I checked the plot yesterday and realised that the entire seamoss plot was harvested, a total of over 500 bunches that had about 3-4 weeks before harvesting. The matter is being reported to the police again. I have no witnesses this time. I received a warning last Thursday night to remove the two experimental plots as soon as possible from the space allocated by Fisheries Division of Willan Andrews. I went Sunday afternoon to do so; that’s when the discovery was made,” Dr John said.
On Tuesday morning, seamoss farmer Marvin Oligivie incurred losses and damages estimated at $1,735. Both farmers lost nine bags of seamoss and 50 clusters of newly planted seamoss.
The aquaculture project site located in Telescope was established through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strategies (ICCAS) project which led to the creation of La Baye Alternative Livelihood Organisation Inc.
Since the first incidence of theft, Dr John severed ties with La Baye and formed Climate Smart Solutions Inc. “We received permission last Tuesday from the fisheries division to create a new aquaculture farm at two new undisclosed locations. We have commenced that process,” he said.
Since he severed ties with the previous organisation, the consultant said he remains very suspicious over what has transpired after realising that three nearby seamoss plots which are owned by other farmers, remain untouched.
This latest loss is a major setback for Dr John as he recently recovered from the first theft of his plots and has since negotiated a major contract with a USA buyer. He shipped 150 pounds of seamoss last week Monday intending to prepare a second order at the end of October.
“This was a lead up to the purchase of a 20-foot container monthly of seamoss that is to be exported to the USA and this has been a major setback, a loss of foreign exchange that our country needs at this time. We will recover as we are also working closely with the fisheries division to purchase from other legitimate seamoss farmers across Grenada.”
The matter has been reported to the Grenville Police Station and an investigation is ongoing. Dr John is preparing to establish another experimental plot in an undisclosed location, and is pleading with the authorities to swoop down on seamoss retailers who are knowingly or unknowingly purchasing seamoss without first verifying whether the seller is an authentic seamoss cultivator.
He added that the species of seamoss cultivated is known as the Eucheuma Cottonii which is not indigenous to Grenada, therefore, it will be easy to spot since it is quite different from the local seamoss.
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