Kerala’s fishing community has taken strong exception to the draft policy framework on India’s Blue Economy which envisages using marine resources for sustainable development.
The fishing community, cutting across political affiliations, maintain that the draft policy framework contain several recommendations detrimental to the country’s fisheries sector. Charles George, secretary of the Kerala Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi said that the draft policy has recommended FDI in the fisheries sector, evolving policies for coastal and deep sea mining. He said that the new policy framework would be favourable to capital intensive enterprises that would ultimately affect the livelihood of lakhs of fishermen.
To discuss all these issues and chart out future course of action, he said the fisher-folk is organizing a national symposium on Saturday to discuss the fallout of the policy framework. Experts in the fisheries sector as well as leaders of other fish workers federation including National Fish Workers Forum have given their consent to participate in the symposium.
According to Charles George, the draft policy framework comes on the heels of the National Fisheries policy that proposed to allow deep sea fishing by providing letter of permit (LOP) to foreign trawlers. He urged the government to empower traditional fishing communities to venture for deep sea fishing instead of allowing capital-intensive investments in diverse areas.
He said that the Ministry of Earth Sciences has rolled out the draft Blue Economy policy in the public domain inviting suggestions and inputs from various stakeholders, including industry, NGO’s, academia and citizens.