Thoppumpady fishing harbour at standstill as talks fail

A file photo of the Cochin Fisheries Harbour at Thoppumpady.  

Operations at the Thoppumpady fisheries harbour will continue to be at a standstill with talks between trade unions on sharing of work at the harbour failed on Wednesday.

The talks, convened by the district authorities on Wednesday, was inconclusive and will continue on Thursday, said a spokesman for Harbour Vyavasaya Samrakashana Samithi, a combination of harbour stakeholders that include traders and fish buyers as well as utility providers.

The operations of the biggest fishing harbour in the State were suspended on Tuesday afternoon after workers belonging to various trade unions argued over work sharing even as dwindling fish catch has continued to shrink the harbour operations, said the samithi spokesperson.

The seafood export in Kerala, worth around ₹6,000 crore annually, depends to a great extent, on the operations of the Thoppumpady harbour.

The seafood processing units both in the southern end of Ernakulam district and those in the northern end of Alappuzha district in Aroor and Chandiroor depend on supplies from the harbour for day-to-day activities. The seafood processing units account for employment of around 5,000 people.

The harbour is the base for operation of around 600 gillnet boats, 400 miscellaneous fishing boats and around 100 purseine boats. They employ fishers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The fishing boat is the lifeline of West Kochi as well as the fish processing units that support the seafood industry, said veteran trade union B. Hamsa of the Cochin Port Labour Union.

The stakeholders have called for an immediate resolution of the dispute as it would help resume the harbour operations, which is central to the economic activities in the area.

Financial losses

The shortage of wild catch has reduced activities at the harbour, which suffered serious financial losses due to the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bad weather conditions in 2019 had also reduced the number of fishing days bringing much hardship to the more than 2,000 workers depending on the harbour operations.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:15:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/thoppumpady-fishing-harbour-at-standstill-as-talks-fail/article33984333.ece

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