Official sources told UNI that the 13-day-old stir by the fishermen in this major marine food centre in South India had not only led to a huge foreign exchange loss to the government but had severely affected the economy of the Island Town where fishing was the only major industry. If the strike prolonged, exporters would lose orders which would severely hit the livelihood of hundreds of labourers, besides fishermen and others involved in the fishing industry in the region, the sources added.
Besides, the indefinite strike had also resulted in a production loss of around Rs 24 crore so far for the fishing industry. The Rameswaram fishermen used to catch more than 1,000 tonne of fish during every trip to the sea.
Apart from local consumption, a sizeable quantity of lobsters, large-sized prawns, vanjirams, crabs and squids were taken to Kochi, Tuticorin and Chennai Ports for export to foreign countries.
More than 3,000 fishermen of over 850 registered Mechanized Fishing Boats in the Rameswaram Island kept off the sea from July five onwards protesting the indiscriminate attacks against them by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The fishermen were demanding the Indian Government immediately intervene in the issue and safeguard their lives. Police made tight security arrangements in the sensitive coastal hamlets in view of the fishermen stir.