KOCHI: Expressing strong reservation over constitution of the expert committee to revise the National Marine Fisheries Policy without ensuring representation of the various stakeholders, fishermen in the State have warned that the policy might meet the same fate as the Dr Meena Kumari Commission and the expert panel that recommended the uniform fishing ban that failed to reflect the livelihood concerns of people who depend on the sector.
Leaders of various fisherman organisations said constitution of the committee indicated that the government did not learn lessons from the previous expert committees that invited the wrath of the fisherfolk.
“It is a welcome move that the committee invited suggestions from the stakeholders and the public. But, the problem is constitution of a committee that does not have representation of the stakeholders. It does not have representation of experts from some key areas like marine biology and pelagic/demersal fisheries also,” said Kerala Malsyathozhilali Aikyavedi president Charles George. .
Meanwhile, owners of fishing boats have expressed their reservation over the manner in which suggestions are harnessed to revise the National Marine Fisheries Policy.
The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF), had constituted an expert committee chaired by Director General of Indian Council for Agricultural Research S Ayyappan, and prepared a questionnaire to be answered in the yes/no format.
“We feel that the questionnaire gives a limited chance to express our views in the real sense. The grave livelihood issues we face cannot be fully gauged through yes/no answers,” said All-Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association secretary Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal.