The National Fishworkers Federation (NFF) has urged the government for a separate coastal mission as part of the Prime Minister's National Action Plan on Climate Change.

NFF chairperson Matanhy Saldanha and State president of the Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation T.Peter said in a release here that the NAPCC in its current form was deeply undemocratic, flawed in its focus, and did not respond to the urgent challenges of climate change.

“The climate science is clear. The fishing community will be in the frontline of adverse climate impact which include temperature rise in the oceans, increased intensity of disasters such as cyclones and storm surges, sea level rise, ocean acidification, changing current patterns, and depletion of natural resources,” the release said.

“All of this will have a profound effect on the 20 million-strong fishing communities that depend on the coast and the sea for their livelihood. Despite this, the NAPCC does not have anything to say on coasts and the fishing community.”

The NFF felt that the flawed process was evident at the State level as well. “While all the 10 coastal States are in the process of finalising their State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC), the fishing community is yet to be consulted. In Gujarat, Bengal and Odisha, the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) is overlooking the violation of coastal zone regulations by big corporates.”

NFF leaders from ten coastal States, along with scientists, researchers, and civil society organisations participated in a two-day consultation held at Goa last week to discuss the challenges posed by the CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) Notification 2011.

Participants at the meeting pointed out that the Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme (SCPMIP), another ADB-funded programme implemented in Goa, had met with resistance from the local fishing community and residents.

They said the construction of artificial reefs using expensive geo textile tubes had destroyed sand deposits on the beach. The NFF condemned the move to use the coast to test unproven and unscientific projects.

The press note called on the government to withdraw the unqualified permissions accorded for all nuclear projects in the CRZ 2011 notification and to delete the provisions for ‘roads on stilts or pillars' and sea links from the notification. It demanded the inclusion of representatives of fishing community organisations in the national and State-level CZM authorities.

The NFF demanded a ban on destructive fishing activities using purse seine gears in territorial waters and strict enforcement of existing State fishing regulations, including the artisanal fishing zone.

The federation urged the government to withdraw the extension proposal for the Koodamkulam nuclear project and the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant in view of their impact on the lives and livelihood of fishworkers.

Mr.Saldanha said the NFF would observe national ‘Quit India' remembrance action day on August 9 in all the coastal States.