FISH MARKETS TO SHUT SHOP FROM TUESDAY
January 28, 2013
FISH MARKETS TO SHUT SHOP FROM TUESDAY
Import likely to be stopped too
VASCO/PANJIM/MARGAO: Goa could face a fish crisis with the All Goa Fishermen’s Federation, already three days into its strike, now calling for fish markets to be shut down indefinitely from Tuesday.
Even though Maharashtra and Karnataka have expressed support to the strike, President of Cutbona Boat Owners’ Union, Patrick D’Silva said they would write letters to the fish wholesalers not to import fish from across the border on Tuesday.
Speaking to Herald, John Mendes, President of the All Goa Fishermen’s Federation, said that the decision was taken in a meeting of the federation held at Cortalim on Sunday.
“We have decided that all the fish markets too will have to be shut down from Tuesday. We have verbally intimated all the markets, but we will also be writing to them to remain shut from Tuesday onwards,” Mendes told Herald.
Mendes said that they now also have the mechanized fibre dinghy owners on board who have joined their cause and that from Tuesday the strike will be in total.
“The reasons are clear. Earlier, we used to operate on very thin margins and just about break even. With the Rs 11 increase in diesel that the Central government has decided to put in place, it will be expensive to carry on with our business,” Mendes told Herald.
Mendes claimed that the closure of the fish markets would have a major impact in the State. “Almost 95% of the catch comes from trawlers and since trawler owners across the State have already stopped venturing into the sea, there will be no fish in the market,” he said.
The fishermen especially trawler owners had been on strike since January 23, in protest against the Central government’s decision to transfer mechanized fishing from the agriculture sector to the industrial sector.
The change of sectors translates into a hike of Rs 11 per litre that makes it Rs 61.35 a litre.
Mendes said that they would be travelling to Delhi on Monday and would meet Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar besides also hoping to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Advisory Council chairperson and President of the Congress Sonia Gandhi.
“Fishermen from Karnataka and Maharashtra are also supporting us and we will meet Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar to highlight the problems faced by our fishermen,” Mendes said.
“We will urge Pawar to take up the matter with the Union government and resolve our problems. The Federation will also meet the MPs of North and South Goa in this connection,” Mendes added.
Even though the fishermen were on strike for the second half of last week, fish continued to be available in markets in the State either procured through traditional fishermen or from neighbouring States. While there was rise in prices, markets continued to be open selling fish.
However, with the fishermen moving to ensure that the markets too are shut down, fish prices have soared into four digit figures towards Sunday evening. The prices are expected to go up further on Monday, the last day they will be open before the shutdown.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of the boat owners on Sunday, it was resolved to request the fish wholesalers and fish vendors of the Margao wholesale fish market, SGPDA retail fish markets, besides the fish markets at Panjim, Vasco and Mapusa not to open the markets on Tuesday.
President of Cutbona Boat Owners’ Union, Patrick D’Silva said that mechanized vessels from Goa have not ventured out in the sea in the last two days in support of the agitation called by the mechanized boat owners from the west coast of India. “Those vessels which had gone out have all returned back to the jetties. We have decided not to venture out in the sea till our demand for a roll back in the diesel prices is met”, he asserted.