After the sea plane project, the fishing community in the state is now up in arms against the proposed hydrofoil vessel service connecting five ports in the state for which the State Government recently gave administrative sanction.
The Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF) and National Fish Workers Forum (NFF) have demanded that the State Government should withdraw the proposed project as it would affect the fish wealth in the state.
“There are thousands of traditional fish workers from Manjeshwaram to Pozhiyoor who depend on shallow water fishing for their livelihood. The proposed hydrofoil project will affect these fish workers and the jets of this service will pose a threat to the fishing nets too,” said T Peter, national secretary, National Fish Workers Forum. KSMTF state president P P John said that the sea up to 12 nautical miles was meant for fishing by traditional fisherfolk and any move by the State Government to introduce hydrofoil service would face stiff protest.
“The sea cannot to be given away for the tourist lobby and shipping activities. Thousands of fish workers depend on the sea for the livelihood. The starting of the service could even turn out to be a threat to the national security,” he alleged. But, according to the Ports authorities, the concerns raised by the fish workers unions are uncalled for.
“We already held discussions with the stakeholders including various boat-owners associations. The hydrofoil service will in no way affect the fish wealth or fish workers. If needed, more discussions will be held with various stakeholders including fish workers unions,’’ said a Port official.