Devbhumi Dwarka fishermen block highway to protest delay in start of fishing season
FISHERS AT Rupen Port, near the town of Dwarka in the Devbhumi Dwarka district, blocked the Dwarka-Okha highway on Thursday, demanding that they be allowed to start fishing, but the state government has said Friday that the decision to postpone the start of the fishing season by one month had been taken. only after the fishermen asked for it.
“During the consultation, fishermen from Saurashtra as well as southern Gujarat requested that the fishing season be delayed by one month, because due to the cyclones the normal cycle of the seasons seems to have been affected. Their argument was that the seas remain rough in August and when the government orders fishermen to return to shore in the event of cyclones, the fuel and ration costs they incur are enormous but get few catches. Therefore, we have accepted their request and notified that the fishing season will start from September 1 of this year instead of August 1, ”Fisheries Minister Jawahar Chavda said.
The minister said that 90% of the 100 of the fishermen wanted the season to be delayed. “The fishermen, who see their traditional profession not as a business but as a religion, are happy with the decision because they believe that the delayed start would allow the juveniles to become adults and this would eventually lead to better catches over the course of a long period. season. However, a minority, who are not fishermen but businessmen, are probably in a hurry to get to the sea, ”said Chavda.
The fishing season in Gujarat normally started from August 15 and would continue until May 31. However, the central government allows fishing from August 1. Last year the government started issuing tokens to fishermen for fishing trips from August 1 in line with other states like Maharashtra and Goa. But this year, he has decided to postpone the start to September 1.
“The leaders of fishermen’s organizations like the Akhil Bharatiya Fishermen’s Association, the Samyukta Machhimar Boat Association of Veraval, etc. But we want the authorities not to allow any boats from any fishing port in the state until September 1, ”said Mukesh Panjari, president of the Porbandar Machhimar Boat Association.
However, fishermen in Rupen said Covid-19 had hit them hard and small-scale fishermen needed to start fishing to support their families. “Due to the pandemic, the last two fishing seasons have been affected and the little savings fishermen have made have been spent on getting treatment for Covid earlier this year. As the fishing season has been delayed, around 12,000 residents are struggling to make ends meet. We have asked the government to allow pilana operators to start fishing, but to no avail. The day before, the police caught fishermen on board five boats after they left for the sea. As a result, people came to the highway on Thursday to protest, ”Satar Bharucha, chairman of the Indian Express, told Indian Express. Sagar Rupen Macchimar Samaj association.
Bharucha said that the fishermen in Rupen only operate OBM (on-board motors) motor pilanas (small boats) which can only make fishing trips for one day, while the fishermen in Porbandar, Veraval, etc. operate large trawlers with a fishing season typically lasting two weeks.
“The fishermen of Rupen lead a day-to-day life where they need to earn something on a daily basis in order to be able to afford a ration and so on. for that day. In any case, our boats are not big enough to go far from the coast and therefore in the event of a cyclone we can always come back to the coast immediately. The government should have taken this into account. But instead, they treat us on an equal footing with the big fishermen who operate five to 15 trawlers, ”Rupen’s chief fisherman said, adding that they had moved the Gujarat High Court against the circular. of the Fisheries Commissioner dated July 15 which ordered September 1 as the start of the fishing season this year.