THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The fishermen’s unions demanded the state to put pressure on the Central government not to speed up the release of the new marine fisheries policy without consulting the stakeholders. They raised their suggestion at a meeting convened by Minister for Fisheries K Babu in Thiruvananthapuram.
He had asked the representatives to submit a detailed memorandum for taking up the issue with the Centre. A meeting of the unions will be held on February 24. A seven-member expert committee, headed by Director General of Indian Council for Agricultural Research S Ayyappan, has been constituted by the Central government to revise the existing policy of 2004.
The state government had told a committee, appointed by the Centre to draft the policy, that it would consult the stakeholders in the state before submitting its view. The Central government plans to release the policy by March-end.
“We wanted the state government to inform the Centre about extending the dates. There needs a wider discussion on some of the provisions in the draft,” said T Peter, secretary, National Fish Workers Federation (NFF). The meeting was attended by stakeholders such as NFF, Swatantra Matsyathozhilali Federation, CITU, Boat Operators Association, Matsya Congress and STU. Representatives of unions said committee prepared the draft sans meaningful consultation with them. There are many provisions that require clarity, such as the provision on stopping permit for foreign vessels, said Peter.
According to Peter, what fishermen needed was a comprehensive policy on fisheries rather than a marine policy. NFF will hold a Parliament march on March 10 demanding a fisherman-friendly policy.