Local fishermen owing allegiance to various trade unions have warned of obstructing the sale of low-cost fish brought here from various other States with a claim that it had been spoiling the fruit of their labour. Coming down heavily against wholesale agents in the sector, fishermen organisations’ leaders said here on Thursday that they would launch an indefinite stir in various harbours if the Fisheries Department failed to take note of the “unfair trade”.
According to the Swathanthra Matsyathozhilali Federation, the low-cost trade without complying with any official price fixing mechanism and quality standards, was emerging as a challenge to the local fishermen and allied workers. They alleged that the reduced price was a trickery to sell off poor quality fish in the market and create an unhealthy competition with the local fishers.
“By the time we reach the local market with fresh catch, the inter-State wholesale dealers will wind up the day’s trade. With their increasing presence in the market, the local fishers are struggling to sell off their stock with a fair sales margin,” said a local fisherman from Chaliyam. He also claimed that there was a constant effort to portray local fishers as agents of unfair trading and reduce the demand for their catch.
The Swathanthra Matsyathozhilali Federation leaders said the wholesale agents were mostly found securing the cheap stocks from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to take control of the local market and suppress the local suppliers. Some of the influential inter-State agents were also found threatening the local fishermen who questioned the unfair trade.
Meanwhile, some of the local fish vendors said there was no fall in the usual demand for local catch considering the quality aspect. Despite the inter-State agents’ active presence in the field with a highly competitive pricing, it was not well-received by the majority, citing suspected adulteration and the use of unhealthy preservatives, they said.