Fishermen organised under the Fishworkers’ Forum took a pledge here on Sunday to protect their traditional fishing rights.
Receiving the participants of Jalayatra, a four-day voyage from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram to create awareness of the ill-effects of uncontrolled development on the coastline, they vowed to oppose rampant construction on the shoreline of the State.
The fishermen said they felt threatened by development works along the coast, in the “guise” of promoting tourism, and movement of large merchant ships close to the shore.
A. Sampath, MP, said the fishermen now faced challenges not just from the sea.
Construction work on the coast, particularly on special economic zones, dashed their hopes of earning a livelihood. The movement of ships close to the shore endangered their lives. He said the fishermen had to take up their problems with the Union Agriculture Ministry, and the officials were often insensitive to their needs.
T. Peter, vice-president of the National Fishworkers’ Forum, urged the government to abandon the seaplane project for tourism promotion as it posed a threat to the lives and livelihood of fishermen.