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Fish workers not to venture into sea till March 31

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on March 24, 2020 Published on March 24, 2020

Demand for certain fish varieties has fallen drastically   -  The Hindu

Fishing boat owners, traditional vessel operators in the State have decided not to venture into the sea till March 31.

Apart from the depleting fish catch, health concerns of fisher-folk, the curbs imposed on public gathering due to virus scare has made it difficult for the fishing harbours at Munambam, Thoppumpady and Kalamukku to function.

Joseph Xavier Kalappurackal, general secretary of the All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association said that the sector is passing through a severe crisis following a decline in catches and a slowdown in exports has made things more difficult. The demand is also down in the retail market following the cancellation of major functions.

Considering the crisis being faced by the sector, Charles George, general secretary of Kerala Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi has requested the State Government to provide ₹5,000 per month as a relief for each fish worker, free ration to the family and ample protective equipment to combat the virus attack. Fish workers in the State have already lost their jobs following a decline in the sardine catch on the Kerala coast since 2012, he said.

Meanwhile, the fisheries department has decided to replace open auctions in fishing harbours with a new system which will avoid crowding at the harbours, the State Fisheries Minister, J Mercikutty Amma said.

Under the new system, harbor management societies will fix the prices of each variety of fish based on the average of their going price in auctions over the past one week. The Minister has sought the cooperation of all stakeholders for implementing the system.

The government will be forced to impose a ban on fishing in harbours that refuse to cooperate with the new arrangement, the Minister said.

Representatives of fishermen, trade unions, local self-government institutions and the departments of fisheries and harbour engineering are members of the harbour-management societies.

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Published on March 24, 2020
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