The activists of Orissa Marine Fish Producers’ Association (OMFPA) locked the fishing harbour in Paradip for an indefinite period on Monday.
It followed failure of talks between OMFPA and export owners’ association on export policy of marine fish, its proper marketing and fixing of rates.
The closure would affect livelihood of over 50,000 fishermen.
Sources said more than 650 fishing trawlers were pressed into service to catch fish from the sea and the catch supplied to local exporters.
However, following alleged exploitation by a group of purchasers and exporters with some agencies monopolising the market, the export of marine fish had been stopped since June 15.
Sources said, at the beginning of the fishing season, exporters whimsically reduce the price of marine fish.
The OMFPA appeal to finalise the rate also fell on deaf ears. Instead, they stopped purchasing fish from Paradip.
Pushed to the corner, the trawler association declared Paradip an open market and invited potential buyers including exporters from Odisha. The local exporters, however, protested the move and stalled entry of other buyers into Paradip.
Director of Fishery P K Mohan intervened and conducted a meeting among the representatives of OMFPA and Export Owners’ Association to resolve the issue. The meeting, held on Sunday, failed to resolve the deadlock.
OMFPA president Sumant Kumar Biswal said after the discussions failed, the harried fishermen community locked the entry gate to the harbour.
Assistant Director, Fishery (marine) Kujang, Rabinarayan Patnaik, said steps are being taken to resolve the issue through negotiation. But he denied having received information about locking of the harbour, he said.