KOLLAM: The indefinite protest called by the All Kerala fishing boat operators association continued for the second day with some 3,800 fishing vessels abstaining from work on Friday. The protest has also triggered a subsequent hike in fish prices in the markets as the availability of fish has reduced drastically. “The protest is now in full swing with not even a single boat engaged in fishing. The associated industries including the ice plant, diesel pumps, and boat maintenance workshops have all shut with the protest,” Peter Mathias, president of the association told DC.
“Lakhs of employees lost their job due to the protest. We have decided to intensify the protest if the government fails to address our issues including allotting subsidy for diesel and implementing recommendations by the CMFRI,” he added. The protesters allege the ever increasing fuel price after the Centre came into power has adversely affected the fishing sector making the livelihood of fishermen in trouble.
They have demanded subsidy for diesel used in boats if lowering the price of diesel is not possible. A group of traditional fishermen also abstained from going for work, keeping solidarity with the protesters. The association has also raised their demand to pay off compensation money to the victims of Ockhi disaster.
Implementation of the directives by Central marine fisheries research institute (CMFRI) on the minimum legal size (MLS) of fish species is another demand raised by these fishermen. The authorities slap heavy fine for the boats that catch small fishes disregarding the norm that it could be penalised if and only if they are more than 50% of the entire catch. This was a fault by the state government while implementing the recommendations by CMFRI, they said.