Tamil Nadu Fishermen fear new Marine Bill favours only Big Players

The fishermen in Tamil Nadu like their brethren in other states in India, have raised concern over the Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill, 2019, stating that their livelihood would be adversely affected if the proposed bill became a legislation.

With the draft bill coming up with many of the proposed legislations, which has been based on the country’s commitment to several of the international agreements, they doubted if the interest of the fishermen would be protected through the proposed bill. A day back, the Tamil Nadu Fishermen and Workers’ Association (TNFWA) is reported to have met the state Fisheries Minister and Fisheries Director in Chennai and raised their concerns.  

Raising their apprehension, the Association has said that the bill contained many provisions that were not going to be of any good to the fishermen. Though the bill has been drafted keeping in mind the various international commitments and agreements, they sad that the bill had not taken into account the issues related to the livelihood of the community.

Raising concern over license and charges for fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone, the leaders said that the government had not taken into account the livelihood of the traditional fishermen. They said that the traditional fishermen will lose their freedom to fish in the EEZ, which would affect their livelihood.  The Tamil Nadu Association leaders were reported to have said that the draft bill had incorporated many of the recommendations of the Meena Kumari commission, which according to them was against the fishers. They demanded withdrawal of the present draft and to come up with a new bill by considering the recommendations of Dr Murari Commission.

They also expressed their displeasure over the withdrawal of subsidies (part of World Trade Organisation agreement). They fear that all kinds of subsidies will come to an end once the draft bill is approved and noted that the livelihood of the fishermen would be adversely affected. They also alleged the draft bill would only help the big corporates and not the fishermen in the country. They feared that once the corporate get the license, the fish in the EEZ would be exploited and the traditional fishermen would be deprived of the fish catch.        

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