July 25, 2021

AIFFWF Expresses Concern on Draft Policy on Blue Economy

THE All India Fishers and Fisheries Workers’ Federation (AIFFWF) expresses its serious concern at the thrust of the draft policy document on ‘Blue Economy’ announced by the Modi led BJP government.

The draft policy aims to throw open our marine resources for unregulated exploration and exploitation including deep sea mining by the big corporations, domestic and foreign. The policy would have a devastating impact on the livelihood of the around four crore marine fishers, who traditionally depend upon the coast for their livelihood and income. The sophisticated technology and the high cost inputs, being promoted in the policy will be beyond the reach of our traditional fishers, who are among the most downtrodden and poor sections of our society. The policy would result in the encroachment of their workplaces and displacement of the traditional fishers.

Oceans have huge biodiversity and play a very important role in our existence, besides being the source of livelihood for millions of people across the world. Any policy on Blue Economy must address the need to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem of the oceans and also be aimed at improving the lives of the people dependent on the coast for their livelihood. But the present draft policy announced by the BJP government ignores these vital aspects as it does the motto of sustainable development of oceans put forward by the United Nations.

The unscientific construction of ports, promotion of tourism and construction activities on the coast, violating CRZ regulations, are already leading to the destruction of the delicate coastal ecosystem and causing erosion of the sea coast. If implemented, this policy would further aggravate these.

AIFFWF, in a statement issued on July 7, has demanded the government to conduct wide discussions involving the fishers’ organisations and other sections dependent on the coast, as well as the scientific community.

AIFFWF asserts that any policy related to the oceans should give priority to protect the livelihood of the traditional fishers who have been providing a rich source of protein to the people, particularly for the common people of our country, and those dependent on the coast for their survival.