TAMIL NADU

Demonetisation hits fishing industry hard

230 mechanised boats remain anchored at fishing harbour

The demonetisation of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes has affected the fishing industry. Fishing operations have come to a grinding halt since Saturday.

Edmund Thennavan, president, Tamil Nadu Fishermen Association, said not only fishing operations but its allied industries such as ice manufacturing and logistics had been affected.

Before announcing the demonetisation move, the government should have given a breather to the public. Though the Centre had targeted black money holders, common people should not have been made to suffer like this, he said.

J. Ashok, a fisherman, said his fish netted a couple of days ago remained unsold because of this sudden move. Many fishermen were helpless without cash.

This situation had led to fall in seafood prices.

Fish sold for Rs.500 before demonetisation were being sold for Rs. 300 now.

Since traders were not willing to procure fish, they were pushed to the local market vendors at a lesser price.

S. Xavier Vas, president, Thoothukudi Mechanised Boat Owners’ Association, said boat owners had been facing hardship as every boat required Rs.1.40 lakh for a sailing day to meet the expenses on diesel, oil, ice bars and labour.

Since there was a ceiling on withdrawal of cash from banks, the required money could not be withdrawn.

Hence, there was no other alternative but to suspend fishing. It had resulted in a loss of Rs.2 crore in foreign exchange to the government every day since seafood exports had been affected, he said.

The local economy, which was largely based on the fishing industry, in Thoothukudi remained affected.

As many as 230 mechanised boats remained anchored at the fishing harbour here.

It was not certain whether fishing would resume on Monday, he said.

R. Raj, secretary, Thoothukudi Country Boat Fishermen Association, said seafood auctioneers had been asked to procure seafood after paying one-fourth of the old currency notes, which were demonetised, and the rest with fresh currency notes until November-end. However, country boat fishermen would continue fishing, he said.

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