Nat campaign for Rights of Fisherpeople reaches Kochi

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Kochi, May 28 (UNI) The National Campaign for the Rights of Fisherpeople, which started from Kutch in Gujarat, to press demands, including banning fish import and fishing by foreign vessels in Indian waters, reached here today.

Speaking to mediapersons here, National Fisherworkers' Forum (NFF) Chairperson Harekrishna Debnath said during the course of the campaign, which began on May 1, it was found that the fisherfolk was apprehensive of the move of Environment and Forest Ministry to replace the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) by a new Coastal Management Zone (CMZ).

''The coastal communities of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka consider the CMZ as a design to condone all violations of the CRZ, committed by various commercial interests, and to protect those who connived to allow such violations,'' he said.

In Kerala, the fisherworkers complained against sand-mining, import of fish, inadequate and irregular supply of kerosene and discrepancy in utilisation of tsunami funds.

Their demands include scrapping the CMZ, stop fish import, cancel letter of permits for foreign fishing vessels and restrict the debt redemption announced by the state government to those fishermen in the Kerala Fishermen Welfare Board, he noted.

The fishing community would march to Parliament during its monsoon session to press their 15-point charter of demands.

The demands, also include protection of coasts enactment of central legislation for conservation of coastal and marine bio-diversity, development of a comprehansive fisheries legislation for EEZ waters, reformation of Marine Fishing Regulation Acts of states, provide sufficient cheaper fuel for sustainable fishing and waiver of debts of fisherfolk along with the farmers.

The campaign with the motto, 'Save the Coast, Save the Fishers,' would culminate in Kolkata on July 27 after traversing through the entire coastal areas of the country.


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