[Reader-list] Fishers demand climate change refugee status

T Peter peter.ksmtf at gmail.com
Fri Dec 25 00:21:14 CST 2015

Fishers demand climate change refugee status




The National Fishworkers Forum has urged the government to accord climate
change refugee status for fishers affected by natural calamities.

A resolution adopted at the annual general body meeting of the NFF held in
Visakhapatnam on December 19 and 20 demanded adequate compensation for loss
of livelihood due to natural disasters such as cyclone and storm surges.

The meeting appealed to the government to drop the proposals for
construction of new commercial ports and power plants in the coastal areas.
There was no point in taking up the construction of new commercial ports as
the existing ports were underutilised, the resolution said. Opposing the
nuclear and thermal power plant projects slated to come up in the coastal
areas, it said the fisher communities would be affected if the coastal belt
was converted into the power generation hub of the country.

It called for a total ban on destructive fishing methods like purse seine,
bottom trawling, line trawling, pair trawling, twin trawling, bull trawling
and high speed trawling to avoid over exploitation of fish resources.

Pointing out that seismic survey conducted in the seas off the western
coast were causing immense hardship to fishermen of the region, the meeting
demanded that the activity be called off immediately.

It appealed to the government to bifurcate the Ministry of Agriculture and
create a separate ministry for fisheries and fishermen welfare. The meeting
demanded that all fisher communities in India be notified as scheduled
tribes as recommended by the Mandal commission. This, it said, would ensure
reservation benefits for the community in education and employment and
ensure due representation in elected bodies including state Assemblies and
the Parliament.

The NFF stressed the need for bilateral and consistent dialogue to avoid
harassment of fishermen venturing into the territorial waters of
neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

*Forum wants government to drop proposals for construction of new
commercial ports.*

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