Fishers welcome fair price, but call for clarity on policies

Interest-free loans to fishermen to acquire craft and gears

Fishers have welcomed the promise in the Governor’s policy address on Wednesday that the Government will take steps to ensure fair price for fish catch but have called for clarity on fisheries policy issues.

The Governor’s address in the Assembly stopped short of calling fishers to be all things to all men, but unions came out against a lack of clarity between “practices and promises”.

There is a gap between the official Government stand that there was not enough space for more fishing craft in the State and the promise to finance fresh gear and craft, said V.D. Majeendran of Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Union. He added that the issues needed to be discussed in the open so that all parties concerned could express their views.

Charles George of Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedhi said while the Government had ruled that marine fisheries sustainability would be affected seriously by the addition of more craft, there is the Governor’s statement promising money for new craft and gear. “These issues should be clarified,” he said.

The Governor praised fishers citing social media posts during the August 2018 floods in the State. “My Government proposes to make fishermen owners of their crafts and gears by providing interest-free loans to the Joint Liability Groups [JLG] of fishermen for acquiring the desired crafts and gears,” the Governor said. He went on to add that the interest accruing on the principal would be borne by the Government on condition that the JLGs thus formed would repay the loans without default.

The Governor also underscored the Government’s decision to enact a law for enabling availability of quality fish to consumers to encourage the sale of fish in hygienic conditions and to enable fishermen to get a fair price for their catch.

The Government must strengthen the cooperative sector to help fishermen get better price for their catch, Mr. Charles said, pointing out that the apex cooperative, Matsyafed, should play a bigger role in the issue.

The Government also plans to offer modern technical training to all fisheries stakeholders to equip them to undertake innovative projects in a timely manner, the Governor said.

He also announced the expansion of the Suchitwa Sagaram project involving fishermen at Neendakara for removal of plastic waste from the sea. It will now be expanded to include Munambam, Beypore and Puthiyappa harbours.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 5:18:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fishers-welcome-fair-price-but-call-for-clarity-on-policies/article30687904.ece

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