Tamil Nadu’s fishers have threatened state-wide protests if local level Coastal Zone Management Plans and maps fail to reflect coastal commons, fishing grounds and the long-term housing plans for fisher communities as required by law. CZMP maps approved by the Government of Tamil Nadu fall foul of the Madras High Court’s order in W.P.Nos.29928 of 2019 and W.P.No.7019 of 2018 filed by fisher rights advocates. The order directed the Government to rectify mistakes in draft CZMPs and to strictly follow the guidelines laid out in the CRZ Notification.
Coastal Resource Centre, which accessed the Local Level CZMP maps using RTI Act, said that 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. Such omissions will cause the already vulnerable coastal communities to face an uncertain future. These maps have not yet been uploaded in the public domain by the Department of Environment.
Fisher and fisher rights organisations have called on the government to withdraw its approval, and redo the maps to bring it in compliance with the law and the High Court order.
“In order to bring validity to the traditional and customary rights held by our community, it is of utmost importance that these plans which will be used for local level appraisal and decision making are prepared in strict adherence to the guidelines prescribed. Not demarcating these features are an attempt at erasing the rights and heritage of the small scale fishing community” said K. Bharathi of the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association.
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 law. However, the Department of Environment has chosen to ignore these maps in what is seen as an attempt to make it easier to convert fishers’ livelihood commons into mega ports, real estate or high-end tourism projects.
“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 have to be rolled back and fully compliant local level CZMPs must be prepared” said Durai Mahendran of Tamilnadu Fishermen’s Association.
For More Information Contact the Coastal Resource Centre – 9176331717 / 9791122180
View the CZMPs here – https://bit.ly/TNLocalCZMPRead More »