Women fish workers with the SEWA Union took out a Secretariat march on Saturday highlighting the threat to their livelihood from ammonia and formalin-laced fish.

Unless the government acted against those selling fish brought by truckloads from other States, the livelihood of the women fish workers who sold fish bought directly from the coast would be seriously affected.

It called for an analysis of the growth of private fish markets and online sales.

SEWA Union State secretary and national council member Sonia George inaugurated the dharna.

In her address, she said the government had the responsibility to protect the rights of the women who survived solely on what they earned through sale of fish. In fish markets in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts where women sold fish traditionally, the arrival of fish from other States in recent times had seen men who traditionally did not belong to the fishing community take over the trade and throw the women out, she said.

The condition of the markets too was keeping consumers away.

The women should be provided space in the markets, and quality checks should be conducted regularly by the the Food Safety Department in the markets. Fish markets should be run by the local self-government institutions, Ms. George said, warning of strong protests if the government did not intervene to help the women fish workers.

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