Fishermen to hold symbolic protest against unnatural fishing

Panaji: In a symbolic protest, scores of traditional fishermen in Goa have decided to lay down their canoes, nets and other equipment in front of the state government on Wednesday for its failure to curb unnatural ways of fishing.

Goencho Ramponkaracho Ekvott (Unity of Goan Traditional Fishermen) has planned to hold the protest before the State Fisheries department office here.

"The traditional fishing industry have cent per cent locals in it. But the new ways of fishing using high voltage LED lights, trawlers (fish boat) with Chinese engine and bull trawling have left us bankrupt with no fish catch," GRE President Agnelo Fernandes told reporters yesterday in Cavelossim beach village of South Goa.

The traditional fishermen who dominated the business till recently have been finding themselves at the mercy of trawlers which take away the maximum catch from the sea.

Fernandes said in addition to trawling, the new unnatural techniques have made the profession completely unviable, forcing the traditional fishermen to fend for themselves. "Time and again, we have petitioned Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar. They are fully aware about our problems. But they don't want to find a solution," he said.

Fernandes said in the protest around 13 traditional fishermen have decided to give up their occupation symbolically in front of the state government. "We are putting down all our nets, canoes and other equipment. Let government take it over," Fernandes said.

The GRE joint general secretary Olencio Simoes alleged that fisheries department has turned a blind eye towards the illegalities off shore as they have vested interests.

When contacted, State Fisheries minister Avertano Furtado said the government has been sympathetic towards the problems faced by traditional fishermen and we are doing all possible things to solve them.

"Don't expect the solution overnight. I appeal traditional fishermen not to resort to such a protest," he said.

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