August 14, 2020 by extracting-us-admin On extraction and debilitating livelihoods by the TAPESTRY project. Areas affected by construction under Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) authorities See how they start to set up bunds and gradually cut the water supply to the mangroves. They have banned us fishers, who are the original inhabitants of Mumbai, from fishing and swimming. One side of the channels running underneath the bridge has been raised, restricting daily tidal inflows and restricting it only to monsoon flow. And as a result, the water flows to the other side. Adding to this, boulders and other soil from a nearby construction site have been dumped to quicken the process of filling up the water body. JNPT construction continues to eat into what was once one of the larger natural water passages. And the nature continues to be reclaimed at a very fast pace. A member of the Koli fishers’ association explains how the livelihood of paramparik (traditional artisanal) fishers of the surrounding areas is being threatened by the JNPT (the port). This how the passage of water is being systematically blocked to deprive the mangroves of water from the sea. Sometimes the ‘intervention’ is much more pronounced. The boulders and earth dug out of the construction sites are being dumped into the water channels from the main creek, stopping water flowing to the mangroves downstream. A passageway already closed. Depleting water line… depleting livelihoods. Fishers’ boats moored to the jetty during peak fishing season. Fishers’ boats moored to the jetty during peak fishing season. Construction materials are being dumped on both sides of the stream, narrowing it further. Salt pans are favourite breeding sites for fishes during monsoons: they ensure that we have a steady fish catch after the breeding season. We clean the salt pans, particularly before the onset of monsoons, to attract fish. Earlier this area was dotted with salt pans which were interspersed by mangroves. Now it has been made into a dumping site, ignoring our protests. And this is what remains of what was once a natural site of the mangroves. Meanwhile the dumping area is getting larger and has started threatening the nearby mangrove plantation. A lone fisher using traditional means of fishing to earn a livelihood. Koli fishers mending their nets. With the water not coming in upstream, particularly during low tides, golwas (a traditional method of catching fish, which until a few years ago were very effective) are getting to be of no use to us The increase in chemicals from industries is killing a huge proportion of the fish. A handful of catch after an entire day’s toil. A handful of catch after an entire day’s toil. A handful of catch after an entire day’s toil. The stock seems to get lesser and lesser with every passing day. Nowadays, the variety of the catch has also dwindled to two to three varieties to show for the entire day’s work. We don’t know what will happen to our children: fishing has become such an uncertain livelihood. I have always dreamt of becoming a fisher and follow in the footsteps of my ancestors. The catch these days has become so unpredictable that I am having second thoughts. We hope that the Gods will step in and stop the rampant destruction of nature and our livelihood. Everyone had to pay a high price in the devastating Mumbai floods of 2005, which the scientists said was due to rampant reclamation of land. Even today the state and big industry refuse to learn. Hope better sense will prevail. We have faith in our God.