With Lok Sabha electioneering gathering momentum across the country, the fisherfolk has put forth a series of demands, including a separate fisheries ministry, before political parties and the leaders who are contesting from the coastal constituencies.
In a memorandum, the fishermen community under the banner of National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) has asked the political parties as well as the leaders contesting from the coastal belt to address the various issues that are of quite relevant to the fishing sector in the country.
Talking to kadapuram.com, NFF general secretary T Peter said the demands that they have put forth are all quite relevant. The political parties and the leaders contesting from the coastal region cannot ignore the demands of the fishing community. The fishing community has a good voter strength in many of the constituencies and no one can ignore them, he added.
One of the major demands that they have put forth is the constitution of a fisheries ministry at the Centre. In the budget, the government has only announced a separate department for fisheries.
They also demand to revoke the notification regarding the Coastal Zone Regulation, stating that a new legislation protecting the fishermen community should be brought in. The NFF also says that the government should desist from the proposed shipping channel. The leaders said that the proposed shipping channel should only be allowed outside the fishing ground.
They have also asked the political parties to take serious note of unscientific fishing methods, including the usage of LED lights. With respect to hatcheries and nurseries in relation to sea fish, the NFF said that the project should only be taken ahead after consultations with the fishing community.
They stated that the P Murari committee recommendation on facilitating and promoting traditional and small scale fisheries sector should be implemented. Another demand that they have put forth is to ban bull trawling, pair trawling. Restrictions should be imposed for trawling within 12 nautical miles, the memorandum said.
The NFF also asked the political leaders to make available all the Central benefits that the farmers get to the fishing community.
Other demands put forth by the NFF are as follows
- Include disasters due to sea erosion, heavy rains and cyclone in the list of natural disasters and to provide assistance to the destruction of fishing vessels and houses in the coastal region.
- Prevent restoration of public water bodies and desist from interlinking of rivers.
- Take immediate steps for the security of fishermen at sea
- Provide protection to women and ensure their job security at fishing harbours and fish landing centres.