CHENNAI: Almost a year after she disappeared along with hundreds of passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, experts and activists paid rich encomiums to Chandrika Sharma, executive secretary of International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), here on Friday.
Sunday marks the first anniversary of the disappearance of the flight, a mystery till date.
The occasion was the ICSF-Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) India Workshop, where Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries — a widely-hailed effort in which Sharma played a key role — was released.
Speakers at the workshop highlighted her contribution in formulating the guidelines in the context of food security and poverty eradication, the first such internationally agreed instrument dedicated to small-scale fisheries sector, even as her husband, KS Narendran, looked on silently. The flight carrying Chandrika, along with 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing while she was on her way to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, to attend the 32nd Session of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN, Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, representing ICSF.
Nicole Franz, fisheries planning analyst, FAO in Rome said the guidelines support responsible fisheries and sustainable social and economic development for the benefit of current and future generations, with an emphasis on small-scale fishers, fish workers and related activities including vulnerable and marginalised people besides promoting a human rights-based approach. Delivering the inaugural address, Santha Sheela Nair, vice-chairperson, TN State Planning Commission said while the workshop did not have officials from other departments, the commission would act as a link between the government and stakeholders. She added that TN could act as a model for other States in implementing the guidelines.
Hitting out at the dictatorial role of fishermen panchayats, which kept women out of the decision-making process, she said “Fishermen should work with elected panchayats to see the guidelines are implemented.”