Date: February 27, 2020
For Urgent Action
Directorate of Fisheries,
Superintendent of Police (Coastal Security)
Subject: Law and Order problem due to Illegal Trawler fishing in Zuari river
Kindly attend to the ongoing rampant illegal trawler fishing in Zuari river from Sao Jacinto Island upto Siridao coast. This fishing using destructive fishing gears (trawl nets) has began on January 16, 2020 (Goa Opinion Poll Day and Feast of St. Joseph Vaz) during day and night. Several telephonic messages complaining against trawlers were conveyed at the Fisheries Control Room by many fishermen from Odxel, Cacra, Nauxim, Bambolim and Siridao. Some calls were relayed to Coastal Security Police Station at Harbour for action by Fisheries department. However it has been observed that trawlers has continued to carry on illegal and destructive fishing within any respect to law and order. Yesterday afternoon (12.15 pm) over 16 trawlers and (05.30 pm) 18 trawlers was seen carrying on illegal fishing in Zuari from St. Jacinto Island upto Siridao-Agassaim destroying river bed as well as livelihood of small scale fishers of Zuari river.
Goa’s State laws are stringent against illegal and destructive fishing trawler practices within 5 kms from the coastline and inside rivers. However enforcement of these laws is absent or pathetic due to lack of commitment from your office even though your salaries are paid by Public. The irresponsibility from your office has led violation of Goa State fisheries Laws, violation of aims and objectives of Coastal Security Police, violation of Article 5.16 of Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), violation of Article 6.18 of Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF). India is signatory to SSF Guidelines, CCRF and has committed to their enforcement via Articles 53 & 54 of the National Marine Fisheries Policy 2017. It is also violation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): 14 Life under water. Your office has ignored these so far and it is a serious public concern and disastrous consequences in Zuari river.
This situation has led to the increasing public suspicions that Fisheries department and Coastal Security Police is actually promoting destructive fishing practices such as Trawling in Zuari River for the reasons best known to you. Fisheries department has even awarded those responsible for destructive trawling with LED lights during ‘Aqua Goa’ mega fish festival 2020 held on February 13th-15th at Panjim.
You are called upon to (1) carry on 24 hours surveillance of Zuari river from Odxel coast and permanently stop further illegalities by trawlers. (2) Assess damage done to marine ecology due to trawling in Zuari and recovers damages from trawler owners. (3) Compulsorily install GPS transponders on all trawlers in Goa so to make them visible online in real time at Global Fishing Watch. (4) Withdraw above mentioned award given to those engage in destructive fishing.
President, Goa State & National Council Member of National Platform of Small Scale Fish Workers (Inland)