‘Choked mouth of Pulicat Lake will be opened to save the fragile ecosystem’
Allaying the fears of fishermen, Union Minister of State for Fisheries L. Murugan has maintained that the Marine Fisheries Bill-2021 was drafted to protect the interests of traditional fishermen and the marine wealth.
“The Bill has addressed the concerns of traditional fishermen. The Bill, drafted after wider consultations with all the stakeholders, aims at protecting the marine wealth as well as those who eke out their living by venturing into the sea,” the Union Minister said while addressing a meeting of fishermen on Thursday.
He asserted that the Centre was committed to protecting the interests of fishermen.
“That is why a separate Ministry has been created for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying for the first time in this country and the goal is to unleash the full growth potential of these sectors and improve the income of all the stakeholders,” said Mr. Murugan.
The Centre, he said, would develop five major fishing harbours across the country including the one proposed in Visakhapatnam as model ones with a view to turn them into hubs of economic activity.
Auction of water bodies
Fishermen at the meeting resolved to step up agitation against the auctioning of traditional water bodies in the State. They feared that the move would deprive them of their traditional fishing rights, if commercial exploitation was allowed by big private players.
Mr. Murugan promised to intervene to resolve the issues pertaining to fishing between the fishermen from Nellore district and their counterparts in Tamil Nadu amicably.
“The choked mouth of the Pulicat Lake will be opened to save the fragile ecosystem for the benefit of fishermen,” he said.
Participating in the meeting, BJP State in-charge Sunil Deodhar lamented that fishermen from Andhra Pradesh were migrating to other States because of the ‘anti-fishermen policies’ of the YSRCP government.
BJP State president Somu Veerraju exhorted the fishermen to be prepared for a protracted struggle to press for scrapping the ‘controversial’ G.O. 217. “The rights of fishermen on canals, tanks and reservoirs should be restored,” he said.
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