Urgent need for financial assistance to fishermen: MS Swaminathan

Chennai, April 8 (IANS) With the annual fishing ban to enable breeding of fish to start from April 15, there is an urgent and immediate need for assistance for India’s marine fishermen, said noted agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan.

In a statement issued here Swaminathan, founder of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) said the marine fishers restricted by the Covid-19 lockdown from March 20, they are additionally facing the annual fishing ban from April 15 until June 15 along India’s east coast.
This means they will potentially be unable to fish for as many as 90 days and quick and effective intervention is required to support fishermen.
According to him, the fishing ban coinciding with the biological breeding period should be safeguarded; otherwise the reproductive cycle of the fish will be interrupted with long-term consequences.
“Adjustments are needed to provide immediate relief to COVID-19-affected fishing communities. This should not be connected to regular payments like fishing ban compensation,” he said.
The daily earnings of small scale fishers has been affected in all the coastal districts and they struggle to market their catch and also suffer about 30 per cent lower rate now, MSSRF said.
The MSSRF said, with people buying less fish the income of vendors has been affected.
Migrants to Kerala and Karnataka for fishing activities are without work due to national lockdown and some households have been reduced to one meal a day.
The statement said trawler fishers, those with storage facilities can preserve their catch from before March 20, for marketing later. Those without storage facilities are severely affected.
With the export market also on standby, the entire fishing sector chain and its allied sectors are adversely affected.