Scarcity of resources and COVID-19 restrictions hit fishers’ livelihood hard

The spread of the fresh wave of COVID-19 has hit fishing harbours in the district, including Chellanam, Thoppumpady, Vypeen, Pallippuram, and Munambam.

At the Thoppumpady fisheries harbour, where 20 to 25 boats land with catch on normal days, only two boats arrived on Saturday. The trend is not only because of the pandemic situation but also due to dwindling catch and fewer boats venturing out, said M. Majeed of All India Deep Sea Fishers’ Association.

He added that both the scarcity of resources and restricted operations on account of COVID-19 had hit fishers’ livelihood hard. The situation has been serious since March 2020, and it has lingered on.

A senior Fisheries Department official said fishing operations had been regulated through standing orders issued during the first wave of the pandemic.

Harbours have management committees to oversee operations in keeping with the COVID-19 protocol. Auctions continue to be banned, and sale of fish takes place on the basis of pre-fixed price for the catch.

However, when harbour stakeholders fail to adhere to the pandemic protocol, the authorities are forced to restrict operations.

Lockdown in panchayats like Pallippuram has not affected the operation of major harbours like Munabam. The harbour was reopened on the intervention of the authorities following an appeal by stakeholders.

The operation of the Chellanam fish landing centre too had been affected by the second wave of the pandemic. P.V. Jayan, a traditional fisherman at Vypeen, said the number of boats venturing out had considerably come down because of poor catch and uncertainties triggered by the pandemic.

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