VASCO: Soon after the Central government restored fishing activity across the country on Saturday, the Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott (GRE) demanded that only traditional fishermen be allowed to carry out fishing activity in Goan waters considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
GRE general secretary Olencio Simoes said that considering that Goa and India is at stage-2 of COVID-19 disease and that maximum crew working on fishing boats are migrants, there is high possibility of community transmission of the virus in the State. He demanded that the Directorate of Fisheries should allow only traditional fishing and stop all trawlers and purse seiners as they employ migrants and their fish catch is not consumed in the State but exported to other States.
Simoes alleged that the trawlers and purse seiner owners had violated the ban on fishing during lockdown period and feared that restoring fishing activity would favour few like purse seiner, LED light and bull trawling owners.
Simoes, who is also the general secretary of All Goa Fishermen Union (AGFU) said that though the government had imposed fourteen set of conditions, there is need to enforce stringent guidelines so as to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the State. He also pointed out that the government was not clear as to who would monitor these conditions.
Stating that exempting fishing operations from the purview of nationwide lockdown by the Centre had come as a major relief for the people of the coastal State, Simoes reiterated his demand to ban fish exports so that people of Goa get abundant and cheap fish.
GRE president Agnelo Rodrigues said that department of fisheries should request the Directorate of Health services to conduct awareness campaigns and provide personal protective equipments like face masks, sanitisers, and gloves to the entire fishing crew and sanitise the landing areas/jetties and fish markets. He also stated that fish should be made available to the people at cheap prices since people faced hardships due to sudden spike in prices of essential commodities during lockdown.