Tamil Nadu fishermen protest against draft bill | Chennai News – Times of India


RAMANATHAPURAM: Thousands of fishermen in Tamil Nadu on Monday staged protests along the shores of all the coastal districts opposing the Centre’s Fisheries Draft Bill. Fishermen cited that many aspects in the Bill posed a threat to fishing as an occupation.
“The Bill should be dropped. If the Union government decides to pass it, lakhs of fishermen across the state will unite and stage indefinite protests,” P Jesuraja, secretary of the All Mechanised Boat Fishermen society in Ramanathapuram district, told TOI. Many fishermen at Rameswaram, Than-gachimadam and Pamban in the district held black flags and staged protests in the sea. “Every time we go fishing only after obtaining tokens from the fisheries department officials. But the new Bill says we have to pay for it. It also says that we have to fish only in earmarked areas and in certain limits,” Jesuraja said.
Non-compliance will result in imposing fines of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh and imprisonment of not less than six months. “There is also a cap on the quantity of fish we should catch,” Jesuraja said. On the other hand, the Bill also makes it mandatory for the fishermen to register the type of net they would be using for a particular fishing expedition, unlike the existing practice of carrying different type of nets.
Fishermen said the type of net they use varies depending on various factors such as the wind speed, water current, the availability of a specific species of fish and so on and that it will not be possible to carry a particular type of net. Stating that they are earning several thousand crores of rupees as foreign exchange every year and that they are the unpaid guardians of the country, they expressed disappointment over the Centre’s Bill.
Protesters alleged that the Bill was a direct bid to relocate the coastal population so that the mineral rich shores could be handed over and exploited by corporate giants.

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