Traditional fishermen in Ernakulam district will strike work on Tuesday demanding government intervention to end an ‘impasse’ in the fisheries sector caused by the ‘exploitation’ of boat owners and fishermen by middlemen.

A statement issued by the Kerala Fisheries Coordination Committee, representing fishermen and boat owners, said the protesting fishermen would march to the Kanayannur Taluk office.

The decision follows a demand raised by the fish sellers to increase the outright margin of depreciation to 20 per cent from the current 10 per cent.

At the centre of the stand-off between fishermen and sellers is the Kalamukku Fish Landing Centre, on Vypeen Island.

A fish broker in the Fish Landing Centre claimed that there was no problem between the brokers and the fishing boat operators. He said the fish sellers, under the banner of Vypeen-Fort Kochi Fish Merchants’ Association, had demanded a raise in their outright margin to which the boat operators and fishermen had objected.

However, Anwar Mohammed, president of Vypeen-Fort Kochi Fish Merchants’ Association, said the fish sellers were not exploiting the boat owners and the fishermen. He blamed ‘the stubborn stand’ taken by the fish brokers in the market for the present crisis.

The convenor of the Fisheries Coordination Committee said in the statement that the fish sellers even prevented boat owners from selling their catch elsewhere after the sellers refused to buy the catch in Kalamukku.

He said the problem has been lingering for the last one week and appealed to the authorities to intervene immediately.

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