Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation leaders on Tuesday said that the fishing community was no longer a vote bank for political parties. The community will vote only for those candidates who supported the demands of the fishing community in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, they said.

At a press conference here, federation secretary A. Andrews and the all India secretary of the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), T. Peter, urged political parties to declare their support to the demands raised by the fishing community.

They wanted the Coastal Regulation Zone notification to be implemented without hampering the rights of the fishing community to construct houses. “Political parties should also not in anyway support sand mining from the sea,” they said.

Mr. Peter said that political parties should also ensure that the Fishermen Rights Bill would be enacted at the earliest.

The long-standing demand of the community for a separate Union Fisheries Ministry continues to be ignored, he said.

They also sought 10 cents of land each for the landless within the community and the cancelation of permits issued to foreign trawlers.

The NFF is also organising campaigns to highlight its demands across the country.

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