The All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Union (AGSSRFU) has strongly condemned statements made by organisers of the International Boat Exhibition in Panaji, suggesting that resistance to installing a marina at Nauxim stems from misunderstanding. The union argues that the proposed marina, promoted by luxury yacht interests and supported by the Goa government, poses a severe threat to traditional fishing livelihoods in the State.

The controversy revolves around plans to establish marinas at various ports and jetties in Goa as part of a “blue economy” initiative. However, the AGSSRFU views this exhibition as a move to expel fishing-based livelihoods from Goa’s coasts and conquer them for luxury tourism purposes. Shaila D’mello, President of the AGSSRFU, stated that the resistance to the Nauxim Marina project is not born out a deep understanding of the lease deeds between the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and private construction companies. The union alleges that these lease deeds are biased against Goa’s fishing communities.

According to the AGSSRFU, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report commissioned by the construction company itself, through Annamalai University in Chennai, indicates that the Nauxim Marina will have long-term, irreversible negative impacts on fisheries. The project proposal involves reclaiming 50,000 square meters of riverfront off Nauxim Beach for marina infrastructure, effectively destroying small-scale fishing activities in the area.

“This is an act of ecocide and a major violation of international fishing laws that India is a signatory to, such as the VG-SSF Guidelines. It’s an aggression par excellence,” D’mello asserted. Laximan Mangueshkar, Secretary of the AGSSRFU, said the union is committed to defending Goa’s rivers and coastal areas from what it calls “blue grabbers” and calls upon the people of Goa to actively join the resistance movement against the marina, which has a history of nearly 14 years.

The AGSSRFU has already filed its objections against marinas before the Goa government authorities. In addition to the marina issue, the AGSSRFU is deeply concerned about the dangerous situation arising from the leakage of chemicals from Paradeep Phosphates at Velsao Beach since May 24, causing fish mortality and irreversible damage to marine ecology, threatening the livelihoods of 400 fishing families in South Goa.