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Andhra Pradesh: Dwindling catch spurs westward migration of north AP fishermen February 10,2020   |  Source: The Times of India

To reach the shores of the Bay of Bengal, B Laxman must walk only half-a-kilometre from his single-storey house in D Matchylesam village in Srikakulam district. Yet the sea has little to offer the fisherman who migrates with his neighbours to Gujarat every year and spends eight months in a mechanised boat on the Arabian Sea. Migration is mandatory if he is to earn a livelihood. In 1993, when NT Rama Rao was chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, the government had announced the construction of jetties along the 197-km-long coastline in Srikakulam district. Time passed, the government changed and the state was bifurcated, but the jetties remained only on paper. For the 35,000-odd fishermen in the region, venturing out to sea on a mechanised boat from the shore along their village remained a dream. Over the years, Laxman and other fishermen learnt how to manouevre mechanised boats and migrated to Gujarat, where their skills were in demand.

“Owing to a lack of jetties here, we can venture out only on small boats and these small boats cannot be beyond a distance of five km from the coast. Fish population within a five km stretch is low due to overfishing and waste from factories. We are left with no other option but to migrate to states such as Gujarat, and even Kerala,

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