Valsad’s fishermen raises serious concerns over oil spill and damage to marine ecosystem.

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Surat : Fishermen in the Valsad district have raised serious concerns over the severe oil spill in the sea near the Valsad coast, which is destroying the marine ecosystem and forcing the fishermen to venture deep into the sea for fishing.

The Coastal Conservation Fishermen Action Committee of Valsad (CCCFAC) has written to the Indian Coast Guard,  Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC), Valsad’s district collector, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) demanding the protection of the coastal area in Valsad from the frequent oil spills, conservation of marine ecosystem and the welfare of the fishermen community.

According to the fishermen, they have been affected due to the coastal pollution each and every year through the black slurry material known as tar balls generated from oil released in sea.  The coastal waters,  in every monsoon during the months of July and August faces the black straps oil deposition spreading across the entire coastal belt from Daheri to Dahanu in Maharashtra to Navsari coast.

The floating oily sticky material covers the swathe of the sea and due to the scorching heat, the oil melts and percolates in the coastal sand. The oil spill is polluting the coastal sand each year and one could get the tangy smell of diesel from the coastal belt in Valsad.

Minesh Tandel, convenor of CCCFAC told TBT, “We have been constantly observing the fish catch decrease in our sea day by day. We are forced to put more and more effort in catching the desired quantity of fish for our survival. Our Valsad coast has fish production worth Rs 800 Crore per annum, with captive as well as for exports. We observe that our fishermen  are forced to venture far deep into the sea due to the present challenges and pollution into the coast”

Tandel added, “For years we were fishing near the coast in the radius of 2 to 5 Nautical Miles. Now we have to venture deep by around 10-15 NM in the sea for the catch. The fishing expenditure has increased due to the hike in diesel cost and inflation. This oil spill and tar deposition in our coastal area is unaccepted. We report our apprehension on this matter to the government as it affects our livelihood.”

President of the Brackish Water Research Centre (BWRC), MHS Shaikh told TBT, “ We on behalf of the fishermen of the Valsad coastal region would like to  request the authorities to look into this matter and stop this recurring annual problem in our coast. The sticky materials should be lifted from our coastal area and necessary action against the polluter should be taken.”