Fishers warn against privatisation of resources

‘Provide fishers ₹15,000 each per month over next 3 months’

Fishers’ unions have expressed concern over the Union government’s intentions to privatise fisheries resources as it set a target of ₹one lakh crore export business over the next five years and 20 lakh tonnes of annual fish production.

“These intentions are well and good; fishers welcomed it. However, a move to privatise these resources will not benefit traditional fishers’ community. The government must help make it a cooperative sector, giving importance to the indigenous community and women’s groups to come out with branded products that will target both national and international markets,” said Charles George of Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedhi.

Atmanirbhar package

He said that the Atmanirbhar package announced by the Union government as a means to overcome the impact of COVID-19-induced lockdown would not have a strong effect on the fortunes of the fishing community in the State.

Mr. Charles said that fisheries’ unions here had decided not to launch new fishing vessels over the next 10 years. The State government had also decided against issuing new licences. Therefore benefits accruing to the State under the the schemes announced by the Centre would be minimal.

The traditional fishing community was poor. Therefore the government must come forward to help induct new technology and modernise it, he said.

Kerala fisheries had lost about ₹3,500 crore due to the lockdown. The all-India loss could be to the tune of ₹15,000 crore. Under these circumstances, the government must come forward to help the 2.60 lakh active fishers by providing a sum of ₹15,000 each per month over the next three months, he added.

Trawling ban

Meanwhile, Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation and Fish Workers’ Forum have demanded that the annual ban on trawling during the monsoon season should be implemented for at least 61 days to protect marine fish resources.

Jackson Pollayil of the Federation and T. Peter of the Forum alleged there was a move to reduce the number of trawling ban days and reiterated that traditional fishermen were in favour of 90-day ban on trawling during the rainy season. They alleged that boat owners were orchestrating a move either to do away with the ban or to reduce the number of ban days.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:56:09 PM |

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