Tuesday 7 April 2015

Continues threats to fisheries in Zuari river

Date: 7th April 2015
The Secretary (Fisheries)
Government of Goa,
Porvorim, Goa

Subject:  Continues threats to fisheries in Zuari river since our last meeting with you on 24th February 2015

As you are already aware of our letters to you dated 21stNovember 2014, 15th December 2014, 19th January 2015 and 27th February 2015 that fisheries are facing threat from tourism related water sports activities Hotel Grand Hyatt and illegal fishing by trawlers in Zuari river. We write today to update you on the fishing rights violations since our last letter to you on 27th February 2015 and seek your co-operation to stop fishing rights violations permanently.
1.   On 27th February 2015 sixteen trawlers carried on illegal trawling from 7.00 am onwards.
2.   At 1.30 pm on 28th February 2015 there were 20 trawlers fishing illegally in Zuari River. This was reported to Superintendent of Fisheries. He replied for Saturday and Sunday do not contact us. Contact Coastal Police station. When Coastal police station was informed they disclosed the familiar excuse for inaction: breakdown of police boat. So inaction again.
3.   At 1.30 pm on March 01, 2015 20 trawlers engaged in illegal fishing in Zuari River. At 6.00 pm the number shot up to 30 trawlers. Minister of Fisheries Avertano Furtado was contacted. He promised to act but did not. Police were contacted by Rohidas Andrade; the reply he received from them at Harbour coastal police station is that out of the two boats one has suffered breakdown and the other one was without fuel.
4.   30 member delegation led by President of Bharat Mukti Morcha’s Goa Unit President Maggie Silveira called on the director of Fisheries Sharmila Monteiro on March 02, 2015 even as the day was full of illegalities in Zuari river with 20 trawlers in the morning at 7.45 am and 28 trawlers in the afternoon at 3.30 pm. During the meeting it came to the fore that the illegal fishing of trawlers was being encouraged by the Director of Fisheries herself. Department was engaged in scheduled patrolling to tackle unscheduled illegal trawling. The schedule is of two hours in a day. When asked as to what happens to illegal fishing control for the remaining 22 hours of the day Director replied ‘God alone knows!’ Director promised to get Patrol boat in Zuari River but did not give any deadline as to when the boat will arrive. Director also disclosed that litigations have been initiated against the offending trawlers caught by police and fisheries department. When asked whether there is ban on trawlers to carry on fishing during the trial period, director answered in negative. So the trawlers carry on repeated violations in this regard. The example of trawler ‘Netra’ owned by Tulsidas Kukalkar was cited to prove this point.  Next Fishermen presented their objections to the Director on water sports carried on by Hotel Grand Hyatt that are causing disturbances to fishing in Zuari for traditional fishermen. Inspection on Superintendent of fisheries was fixed for the next day on Bambolim Beach. Director was questioned on the race organized in Zuari River on February 22, 2015 that caused intense problems for fishing activities in Zuari River. Director denied having granted permission for any such activities and disclosed that permission was granted by deputy collector.
5.   On March 03, 2015 Superintendent of Fisheries Rishikesh conducted inspection of illegalities involving fishing rights violations in Zuari River. He arrived at 5.00 pm when just 15 minutes before his arrival 16 trawlers were in Zuari River. And then suddenly all of them zoomed up into Arabian Sea. Superintendent of Fisheries is suspected to have called up trawlers and instructed them to move off the river to avoid embarrassing questions by fishermen
6.   On March 04, 2015 there were 16 trawlers actively engaged in illegalities at 7.00 am. And in the evening at 6.00 pm there were 6 trawlers doing the same.
7.   At 3.45 pm on March 05, 2015 nine trawlers were engaged in illegal fishing practice in Zuari.
8.   At 9.45 am on March 07, 2015 2 trawlers engaged in illegal trawling. At 3.45 pm 4 trawlers were fishing in Zuari. Police when contacted disclosed that their two patrol boats damaged and without fuel respectively.
9.     On March 08, 2015 there were 7 trawlers engaged in illegal trawling in Zuari River.
10.                        On March 09, 2015 there were 9 trawlers engaged in illegal trawling at 9.45 am. Then in the evening at 4.15 there as massive violation of fishing rights with 30 trawlers engaging in illegalities.
11.                        On March 10, 2015 there were 9 trawlers illegally fishing in Zuari River at 3.00 pm. Director of Fisheries not willing to crackdown on illegal trawling in Zuari River.
12.                        On March 11, 2015 there were two trawlers engaged in illegal fishing in Zuari River at 12.15 pm.
13.                        On March 16, 2015 afternoon at 2.30 pm 4 trawlers were seen engaged in illegal fishing in Zuari River. Most of the time this is done either with connivance of the Director of Fisheries and other time through Minister of fisheries. Superintendent of fisheries too has major role to encourage illegal trawling in Zuari.
14.  On March 18, 2015 morning at 7.00 am there were 20 trawlers in Zuari River.
15.  On March 22, 2015 there were multiple violations of fishing rights in Zuari River. In the morning from 9.15 am onward there was disruption of fishing activities mainly due to water sports activities facilitated by Hotel Grand Hyatt. Four doubled motored boats were in the river in addition to two single motored ones. So all together there were six of them. Bharat Mukti Morcha protested via sms campaign called for permanent halt to water sports activities in Zuari River.  In the evening at 5.15 pm four trawlers were fishing in Zuari with active nexus with Director of Fisheries.
16.  On 27th March 2015 at 9.10 am revealed the prowling of 9 trawlers in Zuari River, engaged in illegal fishing activities.
17.               All together 15 fishing rights violations were reported on March 31, 2015 in Zuari River by trawlers fishing illegally, unsustainable practices. 9 of these violations took place in the morning at 9.15 am and the remaining 6 at 4.45 pm in the evening.
18.                4 trawlers were seen violating fishing rights violations on 1st April 2015 at 4.55 pm.
19.               On 2nd April 2015 six trawlers were seen engaged in violation of fishing rights in Zuari river at 6.45 pm. 
20.               According to reports from fishermen in Zuari river on 03 April 2015 at 12.45 pm motored boat with 6 tourist passengers ventured out into Zuari river from Hotel Grand Hyatt, Bambolim thereby causing fishing rights violations.
21.               On April 04, 2015 seven trawlers were observed engaged in illegal fishing in Zuari at 6.00 am. This is going due to strategic decision of Director of fisheries not to deploy patrol boat in Zuari.
22.               On April 05, 2015 20 trawlers were seen engaged in fishing rights violations in Zuari river at 8.45 am. The day was Easter Sunday and it looked as if trawlers were dished out Easter gift for illegal fishing by Goa Government with neither police nor fisheries department boats around for checkmate purpose in Zuari river.
23.               Two trawlers were illegally fishing in Zuari river at 6.00 am today 7th April 2015.

The situation on Zuari coast is turning really intense due to repeated fishing rights violations. If these are not taken seriously and acted upon by the authorities then unpredictable turnaround of events may cause major social unrest sending stormy vibrations of protests and assertion.  You are therefore requested the following:

1.   Issue directions to Director of Fisheries not to support illegal fishing by trawlers in Zuari river as currently she is doing so.
2.   Install 24 hours fishing patrol boat of the fisheries department in zuari river to check violations of fishing rights by trawlers and water sports activities and stop the same with immediate effect.
3.    Cancel all/any permissions granted to Aqua Sail/ Hotel Grand Hyatt/ Aldeia de Goa for the purpose of water sports.
4.   Take special measures to make sure that no fishing rights violations at even through one or two trawlers or any type of water sports activities.
5.   Direct the Collector/Deputy Collector to cancel any permissions given  for water sports activities in Zauri river as it is harming fishing activities. There may be another massive violation of fishing rights on April 22, 2015 as has been the case on February 22, 2015 and March 22, 2015.

Awaiting your positive and prompt action,

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours sincerely,

Maggie Silveira 

Convener, Bharat Mukti Morcha, Goa Unit

Rohidas Andrade
Convener, Bharat Mukti Mrocha, Bambolim Unit

Sanjay Pereira
Convener, Bharat Mukti Morcha, Cacra Unit

Anthony Cardozo
Convener, Bharat Mukti Morcha, Curca Unit

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