Un-employability of educated youth among fishing communities with their inherent ability going to seed, decline of traditional fishing methods and erosion of fishermen villages depriving space for fishing economy are among the salient observations of a macro survey of 191 villages taken up of Visakhapatnam Regional Chapter of National Maritime Foundation.

The villages fall in the north coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam in the south Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. Apart from throwing light on the living conditions, education, gender-based work division, among other things, of the communities, it observes that 153 of the villages fall under the 10 meter contour of contiguous tidal margin subject to climatic and marine dynamics. “The fishermen settlements are under threat of erosion due to rising sea levels caused by global warming as suggested by several international studies, says member of VRC and former Registrar of Andhra University P. Vijaya Prakash, who conducted the survey.

The survey found that 95 villages did not have functional beaches for fishing economy as they are subjected to land erosion, the survey observes.

Prof. Vijaya Prakash says such villages have no anchoring facilities. He cites the instance of Pudimadaka in Visakhapatnam district. Four, five villages were using berthing facilities at one place depending upon availability. Fishermen were forced to relocate their dwellings, he pointed out. Several vulnerable villages have been identified and now a macro survey would be taken up to suggest remedial measures, he said.

One of the objects of the study is conservation of traditional cultures in view of the invasion of fishing technologies and modern marketing strategies spurred by globalisation.

Prof. Vijaya Prakash and his team of researchers conducted the study with the Rs.2.8 lakh and the credit should go to Visakhapatnam Port Trust Chairman Ajeya Kallam who immediately sanctioned the amount, says NMF Regional Director A. Prasanna Kumar.

Alternate employment

After seeing a presentation Police Commissioner J. Purnachandra Rao immediately rushed to Mutyalammapalem, one of the villages covered, along with Prof. Vijaya Prakash and picked up the youth for training.

Prof. Vijaya Prakash says youth from the community who studied Class X or Intermediate are not going for fishing and are not contributing to the family.

They are turning towards non-marine related employment like driving, welding etc.

VRC is trying to bring about a synergy between fishing and fishing populations with the help of agencies like CIFNET, CMFRI, CIFT and the State Fisheries Department. Prof. Vijaya Prakash, an anthropologist, says the natural marine endurance of the youth should be used for marine-related activity for technology-loaded fishing, shipping, offshore drilling etc or by the Navy, Merchant Navy etc.

2012, The Hindu