In a Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on ‘The Right to Food and Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries’ , the National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (NPSSFW), constituted in 2016 as a united forum of small-scale fishworkers’ organizations in India, states: “The small-scale fish workers are the largest primary non-consumptive stakeholders of the water bodies. Good fish needs good water. Small-scale fish workers are the natural custodians of the water bodies including the coastal waters, rivers, wetlands, ponds and tanks as well as of the fish resources available in them.”

However, the Submission adds, small-scale fishworkers “continuously suffer from pollution; diversion of water resources; encroachments on water bodies, coasts and catchment areas; over fishing by large mechanised fishing boats and destructive fishing by trawlers or purse seiners in the marine sector and by fishing with poison, mosquito net, explosives or electric current in the inland sector. Pollution and encroachments by widespread intensive shrimp farming add to the woes of small-scale fisheries. The government policy favours capital intensive aquaculture and large-scale fishing than smallscale capture or culture fisheries.”

The Submission also states: “Shorn of legal rights, the resource-starved small-scale fishworkers are not being able to protect their livelihood and its natural resource base. As a result, there has been large-scale migration of fishworkers from the small-scale fisheries sector.”