Fishermen stage walkout at meet to discuss draft national fisheries regulation bill

A section of mechanised boat and country craft fishermen on Monday staged a walk out at the stake holders meeting on the draft national fisheries regulation bill convened by the Fisheries department here.

They alleged lack of clarification on the bill and that the provisions went against their interest.

The meeting, chaired by E. Kathavarayan, Deputy Director of Fisheries, began on a stormy note with a section of fishermen objecting to convening of the meeting without proper intimation to stake holders and circulation of the draft bill in Tamil. And when they found that many of the clauses in the bill went against their interest, they staged a walkout, shouting slogans against the Centre for destroying their livelihood.

Unanimous stance

Fishermen leaders, including P, Sesu Raja, leader of Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association, S. Chinnathambi, Traditional Fishermen Federation Coordinator, S.P. Royappan, president of District Country Craft Fishermen Welfare Association and M. Karunamurthy, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Meenipdi Thozhirsanga Koottamaippu, were unanimous that the draft bill was not acceptable to them.

While Mr. Kathavarayan said that only a few fishermen walked out, the leaders claimed that it was total. A section of the fishermen objected to the meeting at the very outset, stating they had no knowledge of the bill. Later when officials started explaining the provisions, they found that they went against their interest and staged a walkout, shouting slogans against the Centre.

ICG control

The draft bill suggested that fishermen, who went for fishing beyond 12 nautical miles, should be under the control of the Indian Coast Guard, which would not be agreeable to the fishermen. The fishermen would have to give up fishing if the provisions in the draft bill were implemented. They preferred to be governed under the existing Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation (amendment) Act, they added.

Mr. Kathavarayan said this was the first of the four-level meeting with stakeholders and the draft bill dealt with regulation of fisheries in exclusive economic zone and high seas, safety and security of fishermen and fishing vessels, biodiversity conservation and management of sustainability and offences and penalties, among other issues.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 10:27:24 PM |

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