Hearing sought over move to revise fisheries policy

February 12, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:39 am IST - BERHAMPUR:

The fisherman community of Odisha have alleged that their opinion is being neglected to revise National Fisheries Policy

Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries of Central government has constituted an expert committee to develop a revised NFP. The expert committee had decided to hold consultation with public to be affected and coastal stakeholders in four places of the country, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai and Visakhapatnam.

On Thursday this expert committee was to hold its consultation meeting in Visakhapatnam. According to sources, only five representatives from Odisha have reached Visakhapatnam to attend it.

Odisha Traditional Fish Workers’ Union (OTFWU) alleged that fishermen community of Odisha could not get properly represented in this important meeting, although the issues discussed there have far reaching implications on their life and livelihood as well as coastal biodiversity.

The OTFWU demanded that the expert committee should hold its meeting in all the costal States of the country including Odisha. “This will enable the fishermen, who are mostly poor to reach out to the expert committee and voice their desire and apprehensions regarding the proposed revisions in the NFP”, said president of OTFWU, Prasanna Behera.

According to Mr Behera, the committee for NFP is also not having any member from fishing community, related environmentalists and social scientists in it.

The OTFWU feels that stress on deep sea fishing in the proposed revision of NFP would drastically affect their livelihood. According to Anga Kaleya, a traditional marine fisherman of Nulia Nuagaon of Ganjam district coast, deep sea fishing would exhaust fish catch in sea and fish movement towards the coast will get reduced.

Because of it fishermen like him who fish with traditional boats near the coast may not get proper yield. Fishing through trawlers would also be affected. Subsequently the ancillary fish workers, who are mostly women will have their livelihood and income affected.

The fishermen fear that deep sea fishing which may be promoted by revised NFP would have negative impact on marine product export from the Odisha, which is still in nascent stage.

The OTFWU is opposed to large scale deep sea fishing off-shore of Odisha as it would also affect movement of dolphins, Olive Ridley turtles, and whales near Odisha coast. Beaches in Odisha including Rushikulya rookery coast of Ganjam district happen to be major nesting site of Olive Ridley turtles.

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