KOCHI: Strongly protesting against the manner in which the National Policy of Marine Fisheries(NPMF) is being drafted, without representation of fisher organisations on board the drafting panel, fishers on Thursday criticised the first policy draft for lack of transparency and lack of concern towards the real issues of the fisherfolk.
Fisheries Coordination Committee chairman V Dinakaran strongly criticised the panel headed by Dr S Ayyappan, Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research as “bureaucratic” and warned that the policy would be faced with strong protests if it failed to take the opinion of the stakeholders seriously. “We would only agree to a policy drafted with the representatives of fisher organisations on board,” he clarified. If the government was moving ahead with the panel, it should clarify what happened to the earlier expert panels including the one headed by Dr B Meenakumari. "The government should first clarify whether it was ready to dump the recommendations of panels headed by Dr B Meenakumari and Dr Syeda Rao," he said. ''What we need is a legislation on the lines of Forest Rights Act to ensure rights over sea resources and coast to the fisher communities.There is no reference or suggestion in this regard in the draft, said V D Majeendran of the Kerala Swathantra Malsyathozhilali Federation.