As lockdown hits dining table, Goans seek approval for traditional fishing
During the lockdown, locals have tried to rely on fish and prawns harvested from fish farms and ponds or on dried salt fish that is usually reserved for use during the monsoon when fishing is banned.Updated: Apr 04, 2020 19:04 IST
The countrywide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus has left Goa’s fishermen all at sea and taken fish, a staple of the state’s diet off dining tables, leading to calls that traditional fishermen be allowed to continue operations to protect their livelihoods as well as help locals get fish on their plates.
In a letter to chief minister Pramod Sawant and other authorities, a civil society group has sought that “only non-mechanised forms of fishing like rapon, mag, catai and pagel form of fishing be allowed, as these forms of fishing will help to adhere with social distancing norms and will also cater to the requirement of fish, which is a staple food and source of nutrition of many a Goan.”
“There has been, a directive not to go fishing to even the traditional fishers during lockdown and on the other hand a directive for fishworkers on mechanized boats to remain on the boats and to be anchored off the shore till the end of this lockdown,” said the letter signed by more than 200 people led by activists and those involved in the fishing industry.
“Not even the Government of India guidelines speak of ban on fishing. Yet, those on boats who cannot inherently maintain social distancing by the very nature of the particular fishing are left vulnerable offshore, and those who can maintain social distancing through traditional fishing have been deprived of the possibilities of fishing and being enabled to earn their livelihoods and also to provide fish to the consumers,” the letter reads.
There are more than a thousand trawlers in operation from fishing jetties in Goa besides 1500 smaller motorized and non-motorized boats that are used for fishing in the state.
During the lockdown, locals have tried to rely on fish and prawns harvested from fish farms and ponds or on dried salt fish that is usually reserved for use during the monsoon when fishing is banned.
The Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott, a union of traditional fishermen too has sought that the ban on traditional fishing be lifted.
“During the period of the lockdown the economic and the nutritional needs of fish worker households, and of others, will be severely affected. Fish is an important food source for coastal people. If they do not have access to it, it will affect their food availability too. Non-motorized fishing and only traditional form of fishing without a motor should be allowed like Rapon, Mag, Cantai, Pagel etc.,” Agnelo Rodrigues, the president of the Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott, said.
More than one lakh tonne of fish are caught in Goa annually, one-third of which is exported.