‘10K tonnes of fish dumped back at sea during coronavirus lockdown’
Fishermen have said that 10,000 metric tonnes of fresh fish catch has been dumped back at sea during the first week of the lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Owing to the lack of refrigeration facilities, packing, transportation or acquisition of ice, the calculation was made by the National Fishermen’s Forum (NFF) and National Purse Seine Fishermen Welfare Association (NPSFWA) based on information from fisher folk leaders from each of the coastal districts in Maharashtra during March 22-29.
The details were submitted to the state fisheries department on Sunday.
“While safety of citizens is primary, planning involved in executing the lockdown has been poor. The entire fishing industry is on the verge of collapse. We are looking at Rs. 1,000 crore losses for the next two months followed by fishing restrictions during monsoon,” said Ganesh Nakhawa, chairman, NPSFWA.
On Sunday, the Centre published a notification clarifying that transportation of all goods, essential and non-essential, have been allowed during the lockdown. “It is too late now. All labourers employed in the market have left. No cold storage services. Boats are idling and do not have enough manpower,” said an NFF member from Mumbai.
The fisheries department said a circular would be issued on Tuesday to all district collectors to ensure wastage of fish is stopped. “The decision was taken in Mantralaya on Monday, and all fishing activities will continue. We have received reports of fresh catch being dumped. All help will be provided to them. Our request is to ensure consumers and fisher folk maintain social distancing during this crisis,” said Rajendra Jadhav, joint commissioner, fisheries.