ICSFDC News Alerts

West Bengal: No one to stop giant trawlers, Bengal fishermen face livelihood quandary by Gurvinder Singh November 19,2019   |  Source: The Wire

As the sun’s rays shimmered over the sea, Baren Khurai was fastening long jute ropes to the anchors to make them ready before venturing into the sea. Khurai resides at a stone’s throw away from the Bay of Bengal, in Dahasunamui village in Deshapran administrative block of Purba Medinipur district, around 180 km from Kolkata. The 65-year-old has been fishing for the past four decades, but laments that the catch has been dwindling with each passing day, deepening concerns about his livelihood. “We used to catch around 10 quintals of fish by spending almost a week at sea nearly two decades ago but now it has fallen to just 10% of it,” Khurai said.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for a group of 8 to 10 people to venture into the sea and survive on paltry returns,” said Khurai. “Our children are no longer interested in fishing and are moving to other states to work as labourers.” With bottom trawling in banned near-shore areas wiping out aquatic life, small and marginal fishermen in East Medinipur district of West Bengal struggle to sustain a livelihood. While some switch occupations, others work in the same trawlers that affect their traditional livelihood.

Bottom trawling

“The gigantic trawlers operating at the sea do bottom trawling illegally and

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)