Workshop focusses on concerns regarding notification

Fishermen have to be consulted in matters involving their livelihood – this was the message underscored by speakers at the inauguration of a workshop to discuss the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 2011, here on Monday.

Five participants belonging to the civil society from each coastal State, NGOs and the fishermen are participating in the two-day workshop on ‘Initiatives for fishermen participation in the implementation of the CRZ 2011.'

“Many discussions and consultations with the fishermen community have not been included in the CRZ notification,” said Matanhy Saldhana, Chairperson of the National Fishworkers Forum.

“Are the poor fishermen going to be protected or displaced? Under the new notification, we want to answer questions concerning environmental protection, protection from erosion and pollution and steps to counter global warming,” he said. The CRZ notification in itself may contribute to escalating these problems, he said.

Secretary to the Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Department Gagandeep Singh Bedi highlighted the changes in the new CRZ notification in comparison to CRZ 1991. However, he raised a few reservations that he hoped will be cleared by the ongoing workshop.

“The present notification is silent about major infrastructure related to fish hatchery units, ice units and harbours. Whether there is an impediment in implementing these should be explored. Also, under the reclassification of coastal zones, CRZ-IV (aquatic areas) covers up to 12 nautical miles off the coast. Perhaps, the fishermen do feel concerned about how this reclassification will affect them,” said Mr. Bedi.

Commissioner of Agriculture Directorate Sandeep Saxena said: “The CRZ notification has taken positive steps to protect the fishermen.

However, if there are genuine concerns, they should be addressed through amendments in the future.”

Anna University Vice Chancellor P. Mannar Jawahar said that the present CRZ notification intended to protect the livelihood of fishermen and this should be implemented through a cooperative process.

Director, Institute for Ocean Management, R. Ramesh enumerated the initiatives taken by the Institute in preparation of the hazard line mapping and erosion mapping of coastal zones.

The workshop, at the Anna University, is being jointly organised by the Society of Integrated Coastal Management, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

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