Speakers at a seminar organised by the Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF) here on Monday expressed concern that the proposed Central Marine Fisheries Regulation would affect the livelihood of the coastal communities.

Inaugurating the seminar, KSMTF president T. Peter said the Indo-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement would facilitate the import of several species of fish at cheaper rates, depriving local fish workers of their income and livelihood.

Warning

He warned that any move to impose restrictions on the rights of fish workers would be met with stiff resistance.

Ravindran Nair, former Joint Director, Kerala Fisheries, termed the Central Marine Fisheries Regulation as an excuse for privatisation of the waters. He pointed out that the new regulation would make it mandatory for a fisherman to possess a licence to fish 22 km away from the coast. “With fish resources moving away from the coast, fishermen have to move further into the open waters to fish, and such a restriction would directly affect their livelihood,” he said.

‘Denial of rights’

S.P. Uday Kumar, a noted anti-nuclear activist, observed that the current paradigm of development in the context of a global climate crisis did not cater to the needs of the people. It only took away their right to life.

Dr. Kumar said nuclear power was not the solution to the world’s energy crisis. “The mining and milling of uranium, construction of nuclear power plants such as the one at Koodamkulam, the enormous amount of cement and steel needed for their construction and waste management – all directly affect the coastal communities.”

KSMTF leaders Valerian Isaac and Anto Elias spoke. Representatives of the fishing community and the coastal regions attended the seminar.