KOCHI: The Kerala Fisheries Coordination Committee (KFCC) will observe a hartal in the fisheries sector on January 22 as part of its protest against the implementation of the Meenakumari Committee Report.
Fishermen and boat owners organisation in the state would blockade the Cochin estuary on January 22 by bringing together hundreds of country boats and small mechanised boats.
The river mouth in Kochi will also be blocked, said Kerala Fisheries Coordination Committee district convenor Charles George. He said that the Meenakumari Committee Report had recommended that foreign vessels can operate beyond 12 nautical miles. If this happens, it will ring the death knell for the traditional fishermen in Kerala.
The blockade will mark the culmination of a series of protests organised by the coordination committee against the report starts from January 6.
As part of the agitation, conventions will be held on January 6 (Kalamukku, Vypeen), January 7 (Munambam) and January 9 (Thoppumpady) in Ernakulam district.
To launch state-wide agitations a convention will be held at BTR Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram on January 12. An open seminar on the issue will be held in Fort Kochi too. Following this a proclamation rally will be held from Munambam to Chellanam on January 17.
“The Meenakumari report had recommended 1,178 indigenous and foreign fishing vessels to operate in the deep sea. It would affect the livelihood of 10 lakh traditional fishermen community in Kerala. The vessels used in India are only 20-m long and have engine capacity of 500 HP.
“But foreign vessels are longer and have a horse power of 10,000-15,000 HP. Now fishermen use fibre canoe with a length of 5-7 m for angling. If the report is implemented it will not be permitted,” said Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal, general secretary, All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association, a member organisation in the Coordination Committee.