Economy

Fishworkers Forum wants 61-day fishing ban reinstated

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on May 27, 2020 Published on May 27, 2020

Crucial to protect marine habitat during reproduction period

The National Fishworkers Forum has demanded that the Ministry of Fisheries revoke its new order reducing the uniform fishing ban to 47 days.

Urging the government to reinstate the earlier order for 61 days’ ban, the Forum said the uniform ban on fishing has been formulated to help regenerate marine fisheries in Indian waters, where the monsoon creates conducive environment for fish spawning. Hence it is crucial to protect the marine habitat during the reproduction period.

Narendra R Patil, chairperson, and T Peter, general secretary, NFF, said the uniform ban of 61 days was implemented with consultation between Central and state governments in 2015. This uniformity came after many decades of conflict, especially between sectors and States, and demands made multiple times by NFF.

The ban period is also a time in which seasonal fish workers migrate back to their native States. They pointed out that the eastern coast has has not yet recovered completely from the onslaught of cyclone Amphan and reducing the ban period, in the midst of the disaster, is not advisable, as it puts fish workers to more risk.

The lockdown has impacted the fishing sector severely. However, tampering with the ban order will only work in favour of the mechanised sector, which overwhelmingly accesses EEZ. Given the worsened wind and wave conditions, including the increasing regularity of cyclones during the monsoon period, the reduction of the ban period would put migrant workers on fishing boats at immense risk.

As small-scale fish workers rely on the natural resource marine base, the short-term alleviation of fisheries’ distress should not be undertaken by jeopardising the long-term prospects of the marine socio-economic system, they added.

Published on May 27, 2020
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