Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Call to protect traditional rights of inland fishermen

Thiruvananthapuram: Participants in a discussion organised by the Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation here on Tuesday called for provisions in the Kerala Inland Fishery Bill 2010 to protect the traditional rights and livelihood security of inland fishermen.

Speakers said the Bill had ignored inland fishermen and people engaged in allied activities. Most of its provisions were either inadequate or unacceptable.

They called for steps to identify and register inland fishermen. The current provisions to register these fish workers under the Kerala Fishermen Welfare Societies Act (1980) were confusing.

They said that area-wise and population-wise, Ernakulam and Alappuzha were the prime inland fisheries districts of the State. But they had been excluded from the list of public hearing centres of the legislative subject committee. The meeting called for rescheduling the subject committee meetings to hold public hearings in the two districts.

The speakers demanded that the Bill be called the Kerala Inland Fisheries (Management and Regulation) Bill. The word �fishery was a restrictive term and hence should be deleted.

They said the inland fishermen of the State were vested with some traditional rights for their fishing activities in filtration fields, pokkali areas and paddy-cum-fishing fields. The Bill should specifically acknowledge the traditional rights.

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