Friday 11 December 2020

Goa Declaration on World Fisheries Day 2020

All over the Globe November 21 is observed as World Fisheries Day. It was on this day in 1997 two of the fisher leaders of India - late Harekrishna Debnath and late Fr. Thomas Kochery - convened international meeting of the fisher leaders in various countries in the World at New Delhi and formed World organisation of fishers. It was then decided to mark  November 21 as World Fisheries Day. Ever since popularity of this day has increased many folds with increased focused organisation of programs in various countries involving small scale fishers who are also traditional fishers. Later the United Nations Organisations (UNO) too accepted and declared November 21 as World Fisheries Day. Several Nation-States then began to observe this day as World Fisheries Day.

Goa has been very important place known for intensity of the fishing community movement from the 1970s onwards combating trawlers. We acknowledge tremendous historical contribution from late Mathany Saldanha and others to stand up for fishers and organisationally defend fishing community interest through consistency over long period of time for over four decades. 

All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Union (AGSSRFU) affiliated to National Platform of small scale fish workers (NPSSFW) observed World Fisheries Day with reflective sessions on fishing related issues in Goa. 

All the delegates expressed on the subject of fishing and various problems confronting Fisheries.

The inputs of World Fisheries Day Celebrations at Nauxim, Goa are added to this declaration to reflect macro scenario of Fisheries in Goa from fishers point of view.

1. Marina proposed at Nauxim is disastrous for fisheries activities and we firmly oppose the same. Fishing in Zuari river will be stopped and the livelihood options of the fishing communities will come under severe threat. MPT Jurisdiction over Zuari river must be revoked. India's Ministry of Shipping has been aggressive in destroying Goa's fisheries and Goa government is silent on this. We call upon massive public engagement at all levels to protect and promote sustainability in Goa's fishery.

2. We are duty bounty to protect Goa and its ecology from all the vested interests trying to destroy.  We pledge to exercise our duty as bestowed on us by God, by SSF guideline, by Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and by Constitution of India Aticle 51-A(g). We call for setting up of Fisheries defence study group involving fishing communities, civil society and incivil society towards Stewardship of rivers and Arabian Sea. Civil society is composed of those who claim that the earth belong to them and they have rights. Incivil society is composed of those who claim that they belong to earth and they have duty of Stewardship given by God the creator.

3. Zuari river is depository of unique "Mendio" which is also Goa cultural heritage beside ecologically important specie. Zuari river being fish breeding site we pledge to defend it along with all other rivers and Arabian Sea coast.

4. Overfishing has caused depletion of fish stock in various parts of the world. We pledge to actively oppose use of destructive fishing gears such as trawling and purse seine fishing nets in legally demarcated zones and critically examine beyond.

5. We strongly oppose sagarmala project for its catastrophic potential for Fisheries in Goa. Goa's six rivers - Chapora, Moira/Mapusa, Mandovi, Cumbharjua, Zuari and Sal -are declared as National Waterways without consulting fishing communities in Goa. 

6. Marmugao Port Trust (MPT) is fraudulently brought under Major Ports Act claiming authority over 50% of Goa's coastline without consulting fishing communities and other people of Goa.

7. MPT has reclaimed 5,70,000 square meters of Zuari river through an illegal act to facilitate expansion of berthing at MPT. We pledge to actively oppose Coal lobby, Mining lobby, Tourism lobby, Shipping lobby and Gambling lobby to disrupt Goa's fisheries that is a State subject under Constitution of India. We call upon State government to actively defend Goa's fishing interests from Central government projects detrimental to Fisheries in Goa. These projects includes Marinas, Declaration of Goa's rivers as National Waterways, Dredging of rivers, MPT under Major Ports Act, Double Tracking of railways to handle coal at MPT, Port expansion, Jetty construction plans and destruction of Western Ghats forest at Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary by chopping down over one lakh trees.

8. We call upon the Fisheries department to initiate dialogue with fishing communities under pressure from various lobbies and even from the Fisheries department support to vested interests and harassing fishers with regard to subsidies withheld from 2017. We call upon Fisheries department to stop current practices of corruption that has allowed water sports by Aqua Sail to disrupt fishing activities in Zuari river due political pressures. 

9.  We call upon the students and educational institutions to interact with fishing communities in Goa in order to understand interconnections and build alliances for generating sensitivity and empathy to defend Goa's fisheries. Intra institutional and inter-institurional collaborations must be fostered.

10. We note with concern general apathy towards challenges faced by fishing communities from consumers of fish. We call upon alliance of strategy between fish consumers and fishing communities for food security and sustainability. 

11. We understand prevailing gender gap between Fishermen and Fisherwomen. While men take active part in political discussions women are absent from decision making. This is particularly so in case of women who sell fish and are known as fish vendors. Shortage in efforts to form and strength organisation of women fish workers must be addressed and for this we seek collaboration. 

12. We pledge to reach out to all the fishing communities in Goa and initiate dialogue with aim towards expanding defense network for Fisheries and our Union. 

13. We note with concern that sewage and garbage from numerous outlets is finding it's way in the rivers and then into Arabian Sea. This has affected marine life as well as quality of fish catch. Further it is further alarming to note the presence of coal inside river and contents like mercury finding it's way into oysters and other bivalves. This is very disturbing trend and coal handling at MPT must be stopped to avoid pollution of rivers in Goa. We call for urgent public scrutiny on the aspect of health of rivers and Arabian Sea under threat from MPT as well as other sources.

14. We call upon institutions of higher learning to make sufficient budgetary provisions to set up inter-disciplinary studies program in collaboration with fishing communities organizations to promote holistic system approaches to Fisheries.

15. We recognise that both legal as well as illegal sand mining on river beds in Goa is destructive to both fishing as well as marine ecology due to the kind of technology used for extraction. We call upon State government to stop sand mining and strengthen enforcement mechanisms to this effect. We also call upon fishermen involved in commercial sand mining to resist from doing so irrespective of reasons for doing so.

16. Catchment areas of rivers consisting of forest is part of riverine system. Any destructive intervention can cause detrimental impact on Fisheries. Protection of Forest is of prime importance. Plans to divert Mhadei river, Diversion of Forest Land for mining projects and destruction of forest in Mollem's Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary by central government negatively impact health of rivers and fisheries in Goa. We call for defence of forest as well as protection of people historically residing inside forest. We call for increase in collaboration between defenders of western Ghats forest and defenders of Fisheries to launch collaborative initiatives by moving out of their respective comfort zones as nature is intricately connected and sensitive. 

17. COVID-19 pandemic forced on people all over the world with intention to Illuminati enslavement agenda by destroying freedom has affected Goa too. Coastal areas are affected very badly. Fishing communities too were pushed under mask control and police control. Fishing was shut down and sale of fish was banned. Fisheries department used this pretext to deny subsidies to fishers. We call upon increased public focus on role of Illuninaties and Freemasons in pushing for destruction of Freedom by creating health emergency to rule the world. Pandemic is actually planned destruction of business of small scale initiatives including fishing activities as revealed from World at Risk Report of August 2019.

18. There is a felt need for a freedom think tank that will study and guide actions on Fisheries across actors and sectors. This is required to stand up to the complex challenges our our time that are marked by multiple attacks on Fisheries simultaneously.  Members of the think tank will require to share regularly with fishing communities in Goa and beyond.

19. We acknowledge that Agriculture and Fishing enjoyed symbiotic relationship on river banks in Goa. However over the past years bunds of the paddy fields are breached and saline water is let in to flood the paddy fields destroying agriculture for fishing purposes. We strongly disapprove such practices. Also daming of Mhadeo river in Sattari talukas has deprived spaces for Goa's unique temporary seasonal agriculture in flowing river known as Puran Sheti by local people. We advocate revival of Puran Sheti in Goa in fresh waters.

20. We note tremendous pressure on fishing communities due coast squeeze occurring due to rich lobbies buying coastal land and objecting fishing activities as in case of Siridao  where violence was deployed under to cut down fishing nets on Siridao beach. We note with alarm rising tension that led to burning down of fishing cannoe at Bambolim beach by corporate lobby under cover of the night.

21. Considering the way Government of India has enacted three anti-farmer laws in the Indian Parliament pushing farmers on roads is a clear indication that governance in India has taken over by invisible behind the scene Masonic operators. We call upon all fishers in Goa to not only support the farmers but also be perennially prepared to intensify the agitations with tact and sound strategy.

Above points are to be studied further and acted upon. Your co-operation is absolutely necessary. 

December 09, 2020