24 Feb 2024  |   08:24pm IST

Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott Urges Union Ministers to Advocate for Fishers at WTO Conference

Indian government has to strongly Advocate for small-scale and indigenous, artisanal Indian fishers; says Olencio Simoes, General Secretary, GRE
Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott Urges Union Ministers to Advocate for Fishers at WTO Conference

Team Herald

Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott has written to state fisheries Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar  to urge the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and  Minister fisheries Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala to vociferously negotiate on fisheries subsidies which is expected to conclude very soon in Abu Dhabi during the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO (MC13), to be held this month between 26th and 29th February 2024.

 

Olencio Simoes General Secretary of GRE and NFF stated that the members of National fishworkers Forum(NFF) in which GRE  is affiliated union will attend  and participate in the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO (MC13), to be held in Abu Dhabi 

 

Simoes stated that Indian government has to strongly Advocate for small-scale and indigenous, artisanal Indian fishers,along India is ranked 3rd in global fish production at around 10.8 million tones, Of more than 100 million fishermen in India, approximately 61% of fishermen are still  living Below Poverty Line (BPL).therefore,It is essential to articulate a robust case for small-scale and indigenous, artisanal Indian fishers and their specific needs in international negotiations. 

 

GRE and NFF implore India to champion the cause of its small-scale fishers by securing a special and differential treatment exemption that extends beyond the current proposed limit of 12 Nautical Miles (NTM). Given the inherently semi-formal nature of their work and the limitation of advanced navigation equipment, small fishers operate beyond these proposed limits upto 24-200 Nautical Miles (NTM).

 

GRE demands the stress upon the need for a robust domestic fisheries policy that aligns with international negotiations. Without a cohesive national policy to define small-scale, artisanal and indigenous fishworker rights, their unique characteristics and fishing methods, India's position at the WTO may lack the necessary foundation for effective representation. We advocate for a policy like the ‘Coastal Rights Bill’ that not only protects the interests of the government’s goals in sustainability of fish stocks but percolates down to the specific needs of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in India.

 

Angelo Rodrigues, President of GRE stated that if the Indian government fails to negotiate on fisheries subsidies at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO (MC13) at Abu Dhabi then we might meet the same fate of farmers in this country where more than 30 farmers die per day.

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