Inland fishermen in the district are facing a tough time as their livelihood has been hit owing to the wild water hyacinth.
Ernakulam District Fishermen Action Council chairman P B Maheshan said the fishermen couldn’t carry out their work as water hyacinth have clogged the entire water body.
“Fishermen are not able to use cast net owing to the presence of the weeds. Only the weeds get stuck in the net,” he said. The Action Council blamed the authorities for turning a blind eye towards problem of fishermen in the district.
“Fisherfolks were already finding it hard to meet both ends owing to low income from their traditional employment and price rise of essential commodities. Considering the situation, the authorities, including the local bodies, in other districts have ventured to help them. However, our authorities are sitting tight on the issue. Local bodies in the district should employ people under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to clear the water bodies off hyacinths,” he demanded.
He demanded that immediate steps be taken to clean up water bodies at Kumbalam, Eda Kochi, Palluruthy, Thevara, Nettor, Kondhuruthy, Kundannoor, Error and Udayamperoor.
Meanwhile, Nandakumar, a member of River Protection Samithi, said the water hyacinths helps breeding of the mosquitoes. “It will accelerate incidences of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and elephantiasis,” he observed.
Maheshan said that as the issue is a recurring phenomenon, the state government should find a permanent solution for the issue. “Now the situation has become that the fishermen have to face the menace of the weeds for more than seven months a year. Clam collectors are also facing the same threat. The government plan to use the hyacinths collected from Vembanad lake for making handicrafts, biogas and feed for fish should be realised,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Maradu municipal authorities said necessary action will be taken to address the problems of the fishermen in the area.
“The issue will be brought to the notice of Fisheries Minister K Babu,” they said.