Fishermen began a strike in Rameswaram on MondayFishermen began a strike in Rameswaram on Monday
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In Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, fishermen are facing a crisis as they grapple with plummeting fish prices following the annual fishing ban. Recently, hundreds of fishermen staged a strike demanding government intervention to stabilize fish prices, which have reportedly dropped by 50%. Despite a successful fishing season post-ban, fishermen are struggling to cover their operational costs due to the drastic decline in market rates.

Jesuraj, leader of the Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association, highlighted the financial strain faced by boat owners, who invest substantial sums ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh per trip. He emphasized that these investments are not being recuperated due to the sharp decrease in fish prices even before the ban period. This economic pressure has led many boat owners to consider leaving the fishing business altogether.

Moreover, Jesuraj pointed out that certain varieties of seafood like crab, prawn, and squid, which are in high demand for exports, are being undervalued in local markets due to syndicate practices. He stressed the urgent need for government regulation to ensure fair pricing and to counteract the influence of these syndicates in the fish trade.

The fishing community in Ramanathapuram operates with over 500-600 mechanised boats daily, contributing significantly to the region’s economy with daily transactions amounting to Rs 5 crore to Rs 6 crore through the Rameswaram fishing harbour alone. Despite the high trade volume, the disparity in pricing has severely impacted fishermen’s livelihoods.

As fishermen continue their protest for equitable pricing mechanisms, the government’s role in addressing these concerns will be crucial to sustain the fishing industry and support the livelihoods of coastal communities in Tamil Nadu.

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