Locals fish at Worli Koliwada village, catch gets seized by Mumbai PoliceUpdated: Apr 29, 2020, 19:30 IST
Locals at the city’s largest containment zone, Worli Koliwada village, have been sending small boats within a one-kilometre radius over the past four days to fish, however, residents alleged that the catch is being confiscated by the Mumbai Police.
Police seized over 200 kg fish during inspections to avoid crowds, alleged locals. The fish was meant to be sold within the village.
The fishing village, with 80,000 residents across 220 hectares, was declared a containment zone (entry and exit points sealed) on March 30, after six persons tested positive for the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
“Supply of vegetables has been stopped from entering this containment zone for six days now. Suspected cases are few, and most of the residents have tested negative. A few boats are getting 20-30 kg daily catch,” said Royal Patil, resident and member, Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsya Vyavasay Sahkari Society. “All larger boats are docked at the village and commercial fishing is strictly prohibited,” he added.
A fisherman, on condition of anonymity, said, “We are sending 10 boats (two persons on each boat) to catch small fish, shrimps and prawn for sale within the village. Despite following social distancing norms, our entire catch was confiscated.”
Mumbai Police said fishing was not allowed till the cluster remained a containment zone. “No catch has been confiscated by us. The civic body has stated that fishing is not allowed within a containment area. This needs to be followed by residents. Locals have approached the ward officer on this issue. We will implement the final decision by the ward office,” said Divakar Shelke, senior inspector, Dadar police station.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said a decision on allowing fishing will be considered after May 3. “This is a high-risk area and it is not advisable for citizens to crowd either on boats or within the village to sell fish,” said Rajesh Mule, assistant engineer, G-South ward in-charge of operations at Koliwada.
Marine conservationists, requested the BMC on Wednesday to allow artisanal fishworkers from the village to fish for their self-consumption. “The community has been earmarked as a ‘red zone’, however with required precautions and guidelines of social distancing they have been requesting resumption of their fishing activity (which occurs only in the intertidal and subtidal region, in low numbers of one to five) and sale (wholesale being sold for local and community consumption),” said Sarita Fernandes, coastal policy researcher and marine wildlife conservationist.