In response to the draft Coastal Zone Regulation notification, 2018 (CRZ, 18) released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on the 18th of April, 2018, the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has mobilised its members across all the coastal states of India to reject the draft notification. The 11th of June, 2018 has been declared as a National Day of Protest against the draft CRZ notification by the affiliate members of the NFF.
With the slogan to “Restore our coastline, secure our livelihoods” the NFF is unanimously rejecting the draft on grounds that it scales back the environmental safeguards for the coastlines. The draft stands in violation of Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 which states that the Central Government shall “… take all such measures that it deems to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution”. The current CRZ, 2011 notification mandates that setback zones be demarcated, livelihoods be protected and unchecked development curtailed. However, the draft CRZ, 18 notification overturns these by removing safeguards, facilitating development and in turn paves the way for the Sagarmala programme. In addition, the MoEFCC has published the draft CRZ notification only in English and has displayed its cynicism towards the fishing communities at large.
NFF Chairperson Narendra Patil said, “We are the largest primary non-consumptive stakeholders and natural custodians of the coastal natural resources. The fishworkers of India will not remain silent on a document that has been prepared without our consultation.”
The NFF is demanding that the Government of India in the MoEFCC rescind the draft CRZ notification, 2018 and take immediate steps towards enactment of a comprehensive Coastal Regulation Zone Act, as promised by the then Environment Minister Sri Jairam Ramesh in January, 2011. The Act must be prepared through open and appropriate consultation with the coastal fishing communities and concerned citizens and should be based on sound scientific, environmental and social principles with the aim to protect both coastal natural resources and sustainable livelihood practices dependent on those resources.
The NFF is additionally demanding that the Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) under the CRZ, 2011 be completed including the demarcation of lines, zones, plans and the long-term housing needs of coastal fishing communities in a transparent and accountable way, with community participation and traditional wisdom being incorporated.
NFF General Secretary T Peter said, “Before any new regulations are introduced, the state must implement the CRZ, 1991 and the CRZ, 2011, and ensure that all violations are dealt with. With no mention of past violations in the draft CRZ,18 notification the MoEFCC is essentially condoning all such violators.”
National Fishworkers Forum:
– Narendra Patil Chairperson, NFF – 09923241641)
– T.Peter (General Secretary, NFF – 08289905239)
The affiliates of the National Fishworkers Forum:
– Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott (GRE- Goa)- Olencio Semoes- 09158875851
– Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan(MASS – Gujarat)- Usmangani Sherasiya- 09427443976
– Coastal Karnataka Fishermen Action Committee (Karnataka)- Vasudev Boloor- 09449207805
– Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti (MMKS) (Maharashtra)- Kiran Koli- 09702265813
– Orissa Traditional Fish Workers Union (Odisha)- K. Allaya- 09437069286
– Vangakadal Meen Thozhilalar Sangam Tamilnadu (Tamil Nadu)- Dr.Kumaravelu- 09442867035
– Ramnadu District Fishworkers Union (Tamil Nadu)- Paulsami – 09442322393
– Coastal Action Network (CAN, Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu)- Yoganathan, 09360310380
– Bharathiyar Meenavar Sangam (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)- Saravanan- 08248408064
– Karaikal Fishworkers Union (Puducherry)- Vedavalli- 09047984880
– Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum (DMF – West Bangal)- Millan Das- 07872407611
– Kerala Swathanthra Malsyathozhilali Federation (KSMTF- Kerala)- Jackson Pollayil- 09349447166
– Democratic Traditional Fisher’s and Fish workers Forum (Andhra Pradesh)-Debasis Pal- 08555809779
Narendra Patil (Chairperson, NFF – Maharastra) T Peter (General Secretary, NFF – Kerala)