Traditional fishers have sought unrestricted access to the available natural resources (i.e., fish, water-bodies, sea-beaches) to pursue fishing and post-harvest activities more confidently.
Reacting to the questionnaire issued to the stakeholders to elicit their opinion on formulating National Marine Fisheries Policy, the outfits championing the cause of traditional fishers have welcomed the proposal to encourage sustainable and responsible fishing.
The community has sought low-cost, ecologically and socially sustainable technologies in fishing and post-harvesting.
Intermediaries, on whom traditional fishers bank a lot to sell their catch, should be kept at bay from them by providing an acceptable marketing mechanism, said executive secretary District Fishermen’s Welfare Association Arjili Dasu.
He told The Hindu that after interacting with fishermen at Pudimadaka, Mangamaripeta, Bhimili, Chepala Uppada and other places, they had sent their suggestions to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute-Kochi for consideration. CMFRI has been mandated to collect feedback from the stakeholders to draft the revised policy.
The government has sought opinion from various quarters on introduction of FAO voluntary code of conduct, setting up of fisheries council comprising scientists and stakeholders, allow Indian companies to buy foreign vessels to operate in Exclusive Economic Zone and ensure public health and regulation through Food Safety Standards Authority of India.
Demanding issuance of identity cards to fishers, vendors and those involved in trading, Vasupalli Somasekhar, a traditional fisherman from Mutyalammapalem, said proper financing mechanism should be evolved through banks or thrift or cooperative societies to lend loans to traditional fishers at low interest.
He also sought more thrust on developing infrastructure for landing of boats on the shore and at the markets, steps to reduce fatigue of fishers and improve the livelihood by conducting skill development programmes and strengthen social security net.
Other demands, include, community institutions to advocate, network and lobby for better livelihood-centric policies, measures for disaster mitigation and improve occupational health and conservation of traditional practices.