Fishers threaten protests over CZMP
CHENNAI: The fisherfolks in the State have threatened protests across Tamil Nadu if local-level Coastal Zone Management Plan and maps fail to reflect aspirations of the fishermen community as required by law.
The CZMP maps approved by the State government fall foul of the Madras High Court’s order in the cases filed by fisher rights advocates. The order directed the government to rectify mistakes in draft CZMPs and strictly follow the guidelines laid out in the CRZ notification.
Coastal Resource Centre, which accessed the local-level CZMP maps using RTI Act, said important features such as common property resources of the fishing community, land use and land cover, important fishing areas at sea and in rivers, fish breeding areas, pollution levels and long-term housing plans for coastal communities were missing. The Department of Environment has not yet uploaded these maps on public domains.
Fisher and fisher rights organisations have called on the government to withdraw its approval, and redo the maps to bring them in compliance with the law and the High Court order.
K Bharathi of the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association said in order to bring validity to the traditional and customary rights held by the community, it is of utmost importance that these plans are prepared in strict adherence to the guidelines prescribed.
More than 100 fishing villages have sent detailed land-use maps identifying their use of the coastal and ocean/riverine commons to assist the state in preparing the maps in accordance with the law.
“People are doing what the government and agencies appointed by the government are supposed to do. Despite this, incomplete local-level CZMPs are being approved. How is this building confidence that the government cares about fisher welfare? These incomplete maps must be rolled back and fully compliant local level CZMPs must be prepared” said Durai Mahendran of Tamil Nadu Fishermen’s Association.