THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In two months the trawling ban would be in place. However, the 52-odd days are not going to be just any other lean period of penury for the fishermen in the Adimalathura-Poovar regions. In fact they have to tide over an added crisis of finding an ideal place to sell their catch.The coastline in the 7-km stretch from Adimalathura to Poovar turns rough during the ban period and, for the past several years, the fishers have been migrating to Vizhinjam harbour 10 to 13 km away from their hamlets for fishing and selling their catch. The worst part is the ‘non-natives’ have to wait until 2 pm to sell their catch in Vizhinjam.
The strange decision was made at a local committee meeting which was held soon after the trawling ban was lifted last year as the fishers of Vizhinjam were opposed to the idea of outsiders intruding into their space to sell fish. With the elections round the corner, the issue is likely to turn into a political debate with Latin Catholic and Muslim communities playing a decisive role in vote bank politics.
In Thiruvanthapuram constituency, the support of fishing community stands crucial to the candidate’s victory.“Last season the matter took an ugly turn with people of Vizhinjam flinging away the baskets of fishermen from Adimalathura and Poovar hamlets. Mediators got involved and it was decided to let them sell fish after 2 pm,” said Thresia Das, ward member, Adimalathura.
However, transporting the fish by road to their native villages means an extra financial burden of approximately Rs 500 daily.National Fish Workers Forum president T Peter termed it a violation of human rights. The problem can be mitigated to a certain extent when a harbour comes up at Pozhiyur. “But that will benefit only the people from Poovar and not Adimalathura.
In any case a harbour in Adimalathura is not feasible as the region is a shipping channel,” Peter said. The government has to intervene to ensure no rights are curtailed, he said.Meanwhile, a fisheries officer in the Vizhinjam office said the decision to set a time frame was taken by the local committees last year. “This year, before the trawling ban comes into effect, the Collector and other authorities concerned should convene a meeting and settle the matter amicably,” the officer said.