Fishers’ unions to chalk out protest plan today

They say Centre’s Blue Economy proposals will deprive them of livelihood

Fishers’ unions across Kerala will meet in Alappuzha on Monday to chalk out a protest plan against the measures initiated by the Union Government under the Blue Economy programme and the proposed Indian Marine Fisheries Bill, which is likely to be passed during the upcoming session of Parliament.

Fishers are planning a massive protest against the Blue Economy proposals, which will alienate the fishing community from their source of livelihood, said a spokesman for the Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation, an independent union of fishers.

‘Like farmers’ protest’

If the government goes ahead with its plans for the coastal areas, the country will see a protest on the scale of the just concluded farmers’ protest against farming Bills, said Charles George of the Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedhi.

“The Blue Economy proposals is a move to corporatise the Indian maritime assets and fishers will oppose it,” he said. The meeting in Alappuzha on Monday would involve all stakeholders in the fisheries sector in the State on which is a million strong fishing community depends on. The maritime fisheries sector’s export earning comes to around ₹47,000 crore, he added.

Seven zones

Members of the Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation organised a symbolic protest in Chellanam on Sunday against the Blue Economy proposals. District president P. V. Wilson and former district president Shiji Thayil said the proposals would alienate the fishing community from the sea. Of the seven zones being envisaged under the Blue Economy programme, fishers will have access only to one segment. This is a clear case of alienating the fishers from their livelihood, they said.

Around a hundred fishers gathered inside the Chellanam fishing harbour on Sunday and waded into the sea in protest against the Union Government proposals under the Blue Economy programme. They also demanded action to end destructive practices like pair trawling and night-time trawling.

Source: Read Full Article