Thiruvananthapuram

Curbs eased, but fishers to wait

A fisherman takes a nap under a boat kept ashore at Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. Fishers are feeling the pinch following restrictions imposed on fishing because of the COVID-19 threat.

A fisherman takes a nap under a boat kept ashore at Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. Fishers are feeling the pinch following restrictions imposed on fishing because of the COVID-19 threat.   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

Crowds will gather, violating norms, once boats return

The government decision to allow country fishing craft out to sea from Saturday notwithstanding, several fishing villages in Thiruvananthapuram have opted to wait out the lockdown period before taking the boats out.

A combination of factors has prompted fishermen organisations and religious institutions such as the church parishes to advise caution and wait till April 14.

Marketing of the catch will be difficult as large crowds tend to gather on the beaches violating social distancing norms. Secondly, fish traders arrive from all over the district, including Pothencode and Manacaud where COVID-19 cases have been reported.

This has triggered concern among the coastal communities. “We have decided to stay put till the lockdown is lifted on April 14. It was taken on the basis of meetings held on Monday which were attended by representatives of Matsyafed and the Fisheries Department,” said Fr. Bevinson, vicar of St. Thomas Church at Poonthura. “Thousands of people tend to gather on the beaches once the boats return. The government announcement on Tuesday has only served to sow confusion among the fishing community,” he said.

Exceptions likely

Most of the large fishing villages including those at Vizhinjam and Poonthura have decided to wait out the lockdown period, T. Peter, national secretary National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF), said.

“On the other hand, some of the smaller villages are likely to allow fishing,” he pointed out. “Some of the parishes have also decided to wait till the Holy Week observance (commencing on April 5) is over,” he added.

Status quo for trawlers

On Tuesday, the government had decided to ease the restrictions on fishing by allowing country craft to venture out from Saturday. The decision, however, is not applicable to trawlers and fishing using gill nets and boat seine.

Organisations in the sector have already demanded that the Central and State governments allot special COVID-19 packages for fisher families.

The NFF had requested the Centre to allow a monthly allowance of ₹10,000 for three months, given the COVID-19 situation and the upcoming monsoon trawling ban.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 2:58:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/curbs-eased-but-fishers-to-wait/article31252365.ece

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