THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: THE suspension of fishing activities along the coast have added to the miseries of fisherwomen due to Covid-19. The pandemic has put a question mark on the livelihood of several fisher families. The earnings by women has a major role in the financial stability of the family, said secretary of Kerala Swatantra Matsyathozhilali Federation (KSMTF) in Thiruvananthapuram, Janet Cletus. Compared to other districts, Thiruvananthapuram has more number of women involved in selling fish. The fishing activities were stopped on Wednesday as a measure to contain the pandemic in the coastal areas, particularly in Poonthura where more people have been infected.
According to Janet, the measures taken by the government to enforce lockdown had been effective in Poonthura and nearby locations. “A majority of people in the coastal villages are involved in fishing. This is why there is a low adherence to Covid-19 protocols in the coastal areas,” she said. As the number of young men turning to fishing in coast now also have a threat to their livelihood from their own community. “These are the men who have returned from Gulf countries or those who have lost job,” said Janet. “They have taken over the sales on the road side and thereby turning away customers from fish markets where women have been selling fish for long,” she said. In a fishermen family, there will be atleast one woman involved selling fish. T
he savings are set aside for loan repayment, education and marriage of their children. According to KSMTF, the indebtedness have increased in the coastal region with few options for repayment ever since the lockdown was imposed. Valerian Isaac, a fishermen leader, said the lack of availability of fish was one of the major reasons by people take the risk of going to Kanyakumari for purchasing fish. One of the fish vendors turned out to be a source of infection and those who contracted the infection included fish selling woman in the local market.