Chennai, July 1(BPNS)
Fishermen association leader Jesu Raja who is heading the fishermen association of Rameswaram, Mandapam, and Thangachimadam has said that the state government must fix prices for fish just like the fixation of price for paddy and other produce. He said that export firms were procuring fish like Pomfret, Seer fish, and prawns at a paltry rate from the fishermen ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 600 and being selling it in export markets at 3 to 4 times the price they buy.
He said that even as the export firms and exporters are getting huge profits the fishermen who are braving tough weather in the sea and much harder conditions gets a paltry sum while the exporters reap huge benefits. While admitting that export market has helped the fishermen community with a regular buy, the benefits are very less.
Saju John who is the president of the All Tamil Nadu Fishermen welfare association while speaking to BPNS said, “ Fishermen community is always in difficulties We venture into the sea, catch fish braving hard weather, rough seas and we end up being paid much less. Government can take an initiative and can fix prices for fish just like the prices fixed for paddy and other crops. Of course, if there is a huge catch, the price will reduce but even then the government can fix a price range and not allow exploitation in this field, otherwise, the labour will go waste.”
The association of Tamil Nadu Marine products Exporters however said that they are making average payment to the fishermen and most important there is a regular buy. Sivashankaran .M of the exporters association while speaking to BPNS said, “At present, there is a proper balance between the fishermen community and the exporters. We are regular customers and we are paying for the fish according to our means. For a catch to be exported it requires a lot of other paraphernalia and hence we need to balance that also and I can vouch that the exporters and fishermen community is having a symbiotic relationship.” He adds, “If there is any issues, we can very well discuss and iron out these differences if any.”
The fishermen of Tamil Nadu ventured into the seas only on Tuesday night even after the 61 day annual ban ended on June 14 as they had taken time to repair the boats, fishnets. Things got delayed as most of the fishermen had not taken even the first jab of the Covid -19 vaccine.
Jesu Raja said, “We ventured into the seas only on Tuesday night as the annual maintenance of fishing nets, mechanical works of the boats, and other necessary maintenance work was not done as Covid -19 has created major problems for the fishermen community. Several of the fishermen were yet to take even the first jab.”