KOCHI: The Kerala Matsya Tozhilali Aikya Vedi has decided to intensify its protest against the move to open the deep sea off the coast of the country to foreign vessels and corporates.
The organisation had launched various protest programmes along the coastal areas this month. Earlier, an expert committee constituted under Fisheries Central Deputy Director General Meenakumari had allowed 1,178 indigenous and foreign fishing vessels to operate in the deep sea.
Members of the organisation pointed out that though many committees were constituted to conduct studies on the fisheries sector, they were not helpful. “While the committees were eloquent on various subjects, they remained silent on fishing in seawaters economically. They did not even say anything on the plight of the fishing folk, and the problems they face in their day-to-day life,” office-bearers of the Kerala Matsya Tozhilali Aikya Vedi pointed out.
“The report of the export committee formed to conduct a comprehensive review of the deep-sea fishing policy and guidelines is only an attempt at alienating the fish resources in our seawaters to foreigners,” they said.
The report also recommends inviting foreign fishing vessels to Indian waters, saying that crews of the Indian vessels are not well-equipped and not trained. “Hence, the report recommends employing foreign crews, under the cover of training the Indian crews. So, we feel that the committee’s report is favouring only the foreign vessels. The suggestions will affect Kerala the most,” they pointed out.
“To save the fish resources, the State Fisheries Minister should convene a meeting at the earliest. The reality of the situation should be assessed and the higher authorities, including the Prime Minister, should be apprised on the gravity of the situation,” they added.
Kerala Matsya Tozhilali Aikya Vedi Committee state president Charles George presided over the meeting. State secretary M M Gopalan, P N Babu, C S Raju, P B Dayanandan and K V Anandan spoke.