Rameswaram fishermen’s association wants token system regulated, seeks Collector’s intervention

Violation of rules and non-cooperation among fishermen only led to fish export firms benefiting, the association alleged

A fishermen association affiliated with the CITU wing in Rameswaram, has appealed to the District Collector to immediately intervene in the issuance of tokens to fishermen venturing into the sea as there were discrepancies in the system.

Speaking to reporters here on Tuesday, CITU district president Justin and secretary Karunamoorthy said that mechanised boat owners obtained tokens in the morning and proceeded in their boats into the sea for a very long time. After remaining in the sea for the full day, they would return to shore the following day with the catch. However, over a period of time, the system had not been followed by all the mechanised boat owners, they claimed and added that as a result, some of the fishermen ventured into the sea the previous night itself without obtaining tokens.

At a time when the fishing sector faced many issues, especially from the Sri Lankan Navy authorities, such indiscipline and lack of cooperation among some fishermen spoilt the livelihood of the majority of the community, Mr. Karunamoorthy said and added that the Fisheries Department should clearly instruct the timings to the fishermen and those going to sea without following the rules should be taken to task.

For instance, the fishermen from the five coastal districts including Nagapattinam are supposed to set off into the sea only on June 30. However, many fishermen were already in their boats for fishing on Tuesday, which was unacceptable. On many occasions, the officials were informed about it, but there was no tangible action, they charged.

Problems in marketing

Due to such violations and non-cooperation, only the fish exporting firms benefited, they said. After the annual ban period, when the fishermen ventured into the sea on their own, the catch was so huge that many export varieties were being bought at cheaper prices. Explaining these factors. Mr Karunamoorthy said that returning with the catch, these fishermen had no space for storage or even money to procure ice for preserving the produce. Hence, the export firms benefited by procuring them for paltry sums.

Refusing to follow the system by some mechanised boat fishermen resulted in a blow to the country boat fishermen, who too were affected due to the nonchalant attitude of these boat owners, he charged and demanded the District Collector immediately intervene in the issue.

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