Despite being exempted from the lockdown restrictions, fishermen are finding it difficult to sell their catch with no clear instructions to go about their business. Owing to this, a few of them are now asking the government to extend the fishing activity till June end. The annual ban on fishing normally comes into effect from June 1 with the monsoon season and resumes from August 1.
Maharashtra coastline is 652 kilometres long. "To meet their needs during monsoon, fishermen make some income from December to May so that when the fishing is banned, they can take care of their families. However, due to the lockdown and due to natural calamities, this sector is badly affected. Therefore, the state government should officially extend the period for fishing up to June end," explained Godfrey Pimenta, an activist from the East Indian Community. He has also written a letter to the fisheries commissioner and minister saying that the rains get intense after June. Moreover, he believes the extension in fishing activity will help fishermen to tide themselves from any financial hardships.
However, Nitesh Patil, a fisherman from Worli Koliwada, expressed a different view. He said, "Due to the lockdown restrictions, big boats are not allowed to venture in the sea. While small boat fishermen fearing Amphan have anchored their boats now. So, practically, hardly fishermen are out at sea. So, even if the government extends the period, who will it benefit?"
Rather, the government should provide some financial assistance to all the affected fishermen, he asserted.
Aslam Shaikh, minister of fisheries, speaking to the Free Press Journal said, "We are considering the issue and some announcement will be made soon. The announcement will surely provide some relief to the fishing sector."