Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Fishermen’s burden of illegal ground trawler fishing and Water sports

Date: 16th October 2015


To,
Mr. A. Monsorrate,
The Member of Legislative Assembly,
Santa Cruz Constituency, Goa

To,
Mrs. Jenifer Monsorrate,
The Member of Legislative Assembly,
Taleigao Constituency,
Goa

To,
Vishnu Surya Wagh,
The Member of Legislative Assembly,
St. Andre Constituency,
Goa

To,
The Sarpanch,
Taleigao village Panchayat,
Taleigao, Goa

To,
The Sarpanch,
Santa Cruz Village Panchayat,
Santa Cruz, Goa

To,
The Sarpanch,
Curca-Bambolim-Nauxim Panchayat,
Bambolim, Goa

To,
The Sarpanch,
Siridao village Panchayat,
Siridao, Goa

To,
The Sarpanch,
Agacaim village Panchayat,
Agacaim, Goa



Subject: Fishermen’s burden of illegal ground trawler fishing and Water sports in Zuari River
Dear Madam/Sir,
We wish to urgently bring to your attention the deepening crisis in fisheries department, Government of Goa on two counts. The First one is about the illegal trawler fishing very close to the Coast from Siridao to Odxel sometimes even extends up to Agacaim coast. As you are already aware that fishing by trawlers within 5 kilometers from the shore is banned by law yet there is widespread trawler fishing is going on with no respect to law. We have observed that this violation is taking place with active connivance of the Department of Fisheries, Government of Goa. That’s the reason till day no permanent patrol vessel has been installed in Zuari River in spite of suggestion from Bharat Mukti Morcha conveyed to Chief Secretary and to all the three levels of the Fisheries department namely Minister of Fisheries, Secretary to Fisheries as well as Director of Fisheries.

Director of Fisheries instead of enforcing the law indulged in subjecting fishermen from Zuari coast under political pressure to carry on illegal trawling in Zuari River unhindered. Police from harbor police station when called so many times either refuse to answer our calls or inform us that their patrol boat is suffering engine break down or no funds to buy fuel or busy in bandobast somewhere else. Sometimes Police informs us that they have booked some trawlers for illegal fishing and sent the papers to Fisheries department for further proceeding to prosecution. But trawlers are free to repeat the offence of illegal fishing to infinity.

On number of occasions Director of Fisheries Shamila Monteiro behaved arrogantly with the fishermen when complained about the illegal trawlers and even told not to call her to lodge complaints. Timetable for patrolling that is followed is flawed to the core as it involves patrolling in Zuari River only for two hours out of twenty four hours in a day. This too exists only on paper. On number of occasions Minister of Fisheries Avertano Furtado has behaved arrogantly with the fishermen when called to complain. He asked the complaining fishermen to go and arrest the trawlers privately in their boats thereby causing likely law and order problem. We have refused to heed to this suggestion from the Minister.

Fisheries department though has a patrol boat but in spite of telephone calls rarely comes to Zuari river to stop illegal trawler fishing. And even when boat arrives it never compounds any trawlers as there is internal nexus with trawlers with Fisheries department, and offending trawlers suddenly flee at once from the river. All this has disastrous consequences to marine ecology of Zauri River besides on the livelihood of the fishermen of the Coastal villages of Zuari River. Zuari river is rich is fish variety and even scientific paper has been recently published by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) based in Old Goa after year long field study. This river is a place for spawning of fish; and ground trawling disrupts this completely. Years of experience of the local fishermen has confirmed this reality. We have to unite to protect Zuari River as well as traditional fishermen who depend on fishing. River cannot be allowed to be ransacked the way currently is being done through trawler ground fishing with active collaboration of Fisheries department. After ‘N’ number of letters in warded to the Chief Secretary and he knowing the reality faced by traditional fishermen refused appointment to Bharat Mukti Morcha.

The second issue that we wish to draw your attention to is the water sports activities operating through the premises of Hotel Grand Hyatt in Bambolim. This is done by entity called Aqua Sail. Through out last year Fishermen are objecting, and permissions even cancelled. But due to political pressure it was granted again by Fisheries department. This month we understand that fisheries department has granted permissions for water sports again as Aqua sail boats are seen again indulging in water sports thereby disrupting fishing activities.  There is very serious disruption of fishing practices due to water sports activities in Zuari River. Fishermen are not able to carry on their normal fishing activities. There are also clashes reported and one fishermen Vishnu Kankonkar was even slapped by previous Agacaim PI Devendra Gad on Bambolim beach on 19th April 2014 for objecting to water sports activities in Zuari River. This high handedness we protest and must stop. Hotel Grand Hyatt is confirmed illegal and it has no right to harbor invasive entities like Aqua Sail in its premises.

Bharat Mukti Morcha therefore calls upon you to initiate steps to stop illegal trawling in Zuari river totally and also to stop water sports activities in Zuari river totally.
We hereby share the daily record of fishing rights violations from 30th September 2015 till 15th October 2015 for your ready reference:

Date with Time
Nature of Fishing Rights Violations in Zuari
30/09/2015  at 3.35 pm
35 trawlers carried on illegal fishing
30/09/2015 at  7.15 pm
23 trawlers carried on illegal fishing
01/10/2015 at 7.30 am
45 trawlers carried on illegal fishing
01/10/2015 at 6.00 pm
23 trawlers close to Cacra coast
02/10/2015 at 6.6 am
21 trawlers carried on illegal fishing
02/10/2015 at 4.00 pm
15 trawlers carried on illegal fishing
03/10/2015 at 3.00 pm
22 trawlers carried on illegal fishing. When police came trawlers fled.
04/10/2015 at 12.00 noon
8 trawlers carried on illegal fishing
04/10/2015 at 3.00 pm
8 water sports boats noticed off Nauxim coast
08/10/2015 at 3.00 pm
5 trawler carried on illegal fishing
08/10.2015 at 4.00 pm
Several boats from Aqua sail disrupted fishing
10/10/2015 at 8.00 am
8 trawlers carried on illegal fishing near Siridao-Cacra coastline
10/10/2015 at 3.30 pm
Few boats from Aqua Sail disturbed fishing
14/10/2015 at 4.00 pm
2 trawlers carried on illegal fishing within 50 meters of Cacra Coast
15/10/2015 at 8.30 am
3 trawlers carried on illegal fishing in Zuari
15/10/2015 at 3.00 pm
13 trawlers carried on illegal fishing till 6.30 pm. Police arrived after trawlers left the scene. There looks to be certain match-fixing between trawlers and the Police, trawlers and the Fisheries department.

Your prompt and decisive immediate action before situation of traditional fishermen and marine ecology of Zuari River further aggravates will be highly appreciated. We look forward for your kind support and action as the traditional fishermen are put into severe problems by Director of Fisheries Shamila Monteiro and Minister of Fisheries Avertano Furtado. Looking at the data above this is a ground reality.

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,


        Sd/-
Maggie Silveira
President,
Goa State Unit

         Sd/-
Sanjay Pereira
Convener,
Cacra unit

        Sd/-
Rohidas Andrade
Convener,
Bambolim unit


        Sd/-
Soccoro Braganza
Convener,
Siridao Unit

        Sd/-
Anthony Cardozo
Convener,
Curca Unit

        Sd/- 
Sitaram Pereira
Convener,
Odxel Unit

      Sd/-
Milind Palkar
Convener,
Nauxi unit

       Sd/-
Chandrakant Lotlikar
Secretary, Bharat Mukti Morcha,
Siridao Unit

       Sd/-
Hanuman Dias
Co-convenor
Odxel Unit

      Sd/-
Honu Dinkar,
Co-convener,
Odxel Unit

      Sd/-
Deu Kankonkar
Secretary,
Nauxi Unit

     Sd/-
Bikaro Dias
Co-convener,
Odxel Unit

     Sd/-
Yeshwant Shirodkar,
Co-convener,
Odxel Unit

      Sd/-
Manguesh Sawant,
Co-convener,
Odxel unit

      Sd/-
Amir Mardolkar,
Co-convener,
Nauxim Unit

      Sd/-
Francis Coelho,
Co-convener,
Nauxim Unit

      Sd/-
Dulba Pereira,
Co-convener,
Cacra Unit

      Sd/-
Santosh Gauns,
Co-convener,
Cacra Unit

      Sd/-
Sheila D’mello,
Co-convener
Cacra Unit

      Sd/-
Santosh Kukalkar,
Co-convener
Cacra unit





Copy to   (1) Minister of Fisheries, Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa
                 (2) Secretary (Fisheries), Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa
                 (3) Director of Fisheries, Panjim, Goa
                 (4) Chief Secretary, Secretariate, Porvorim, Goa


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