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West Bengal: Photo Essay: Fishermen in Sunderbans face multiple threats to their livelihood by Puja Bhattacharjee June 10,2021   |  Source: Youth Ki Awaaz

The coastline of West Bengal is spread over two districts: South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore. Fishing in West Bengal is also mainly focused on these two districts. About 100 km south of Kolkata in the Kakdwip subdivision of South 24 Parganas lies Sagar island. The island is located within a tidal creek and has a very low elevation. The fisherfolk of the island depends on the waters of Ganga Sagar – where the river Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal – for their livelihood. During the fishing season which lasts from October to February, they set out in mechanized boats every six hours during the high tide. During this time, they barely sleep. Once they return from the waters, their family helps them dry the fish and fish meal tied to wires and laid on nets in their front yards respectively. They live in huts called “khutis” made of hogla leaves during these four months. The fisherfolk do not own the title to the land where they set up khutis. They live there with permission from the local panchayat. In 2014, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said that the seafront would be developed for tourism. “The local fishermen under Sagar Sangam Matsojibi Khuti Samabyay Samiti led an agitation against the move and delivered a petition with a set of demands to the chief minister,”

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