Tamil Nadu fishermen are shocked and baffled at the Kerala police action of confiscating and burying costly export-oriented tuna fish resulting in huge losses.
"For the past two weeks, the Kerala police after allowing the trucks carrying the tuna and other fish into its territory confiscated the consignment and buried it," M. Ilango, Chairperson, National Fisherfolk Forum told IANS.
He said this has resulted in huge losses to the Tamil Nadu fishermen.
"Fishermen from Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and other places in Tamil Nadu go into deep sea for fishing and catch tuna fish," Ilango said.
According to him the tuna caught in the Bay of Bengal has good export demand.
"As there are not many seafood processing units in Tamil Nadu, the fishermen send the catch to Kerala where such units are located," Ilango said.
He said the quality of fish sold is a matter between the buyer and the seller and the Kerala police has no role in deciding it.
"The Kerala police has two options - not allow fish from Tamil Nadu into the state or if it allows then leave the issue between the buyer and the seller. It cannot allow the trucks inside and then destroy the well packed quality and costly consignment," Ilango remarked.
He said the matter was also brought to the notice of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
"The fishermen and the traders who have lost heavily, be properly compensated. We request the Kerala Government to take proper action in this regard," Ilango added.
"We bring the fish to the shore where traders will buy and take it to the seafood processing units in Kerala. We will get our payment three days later," P. Abraham, a fisherman in Kanyakumari district told IANS.
Abraham said his catch worth Rs 3 lakh was destroyed by Kerala police as per the information given to him by the buyer.
Similarly two other fishermen together lost catch worth several lakhs of rupees, Abraham said.
"We normally preserve the catch with proper ice packings," he added.
Perhaps the Kerala police is destroying the consignment to avoid crowding at the seafood processing units.