Fishermen families at sea

A section of fishermen community in the coastal districts dependent on daily catch is in dire straits in the midst of the nationwide lockdown till April 14 to combat the spread of novel coronavirus.

Fishermen engaged as workers in mechanised boats are the worst hit as the fishing ban period for 61 days will begin the very next day after the culmination of the lockdown until April 14.

“The lockdown has come at a time when catches of country boats was very poor. Even the daily survival of fishermen families has become rather tough since the habit of saving money is nil in the community,” Kalidass, State Deputy General Secretary of AITUC Meenavar Sangam, who is based in Adhirampattinam in Thanjavur district, said.

“The problem now is that we are unable to reach out to the district administrations as the police vigil has deterred our movement,” Mr. Kalidass lamented.

The relief of ₹1,000 announced by the State Government for each family card would, of course, offer solace to the struggling fishermen, but that would hardly suffice to meet the cost of food and other essentials, he said.

As the business activities in fishing markets are, more or less, regulated by traders at the behest of owners of mechanised trawlers even in normal situations, the sustenance of fishermen in the lower economic ladder has been snuffed out, he explained, emphasising that the district administrations must accord priority for providing the struggling fisher families with essentials for the lockdown period.

Meanwhile, the Fisheries Department has found the social media effective in reaching out to the fishers with messages related to coronavirus pandemic.

Be it mechanised boats or country crafts, fishing activities has been halted till mid-April, the end of the lockdown period, considering the safety of fishers who usually venture into the sea in groups, Joint Director of Fisheries, Nagapattinam, Amal Raj Xavier said.

The department drove home the importance of personal distancing, and the need to remain safe and healthy to support their families in future, to justify complete stoppage of fishing activities.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 12:56:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/fishermen-families-at-sea/article31175468.ece

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