By BASMA MOHAMMED
FISHERMEN are planning a nationwide strike starting February 15 in protest over fees imposed by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA).
The strike comes after the alleged failure of officials to meet their demands.
It follows a string of demonstrations organised by Fishermen’s Protection Society at its premises in Muharraq over the past few months.
The fishermen want authorities to scrap the BD200 biennial and the BD10 monthly fees imposed by the LMRA.
They are also calling for compensation over land reclamation they claim had affected their livelihoods.
Society honorary president Waheed Al Dossary said that more than 1,000 fishermen from around the country pledged to stay in port after their constant demands fell on deaf ears.
“The fishermen agreed to go on a nation-wide strike after officials neglected their many attempts to resolve the issue,” he said.
“This time the strike will go on until our demands are met, otherwise fish would be off the scales in Bahrain’s shops and markets.”
Mr Al Dossary said that fishermen agreed that February 14 would be the last day for them to trade at fish markets.
“This will affect the market very badly, we are also contacting Saudi and UAE traders to not export fish to Bahrain,” said Mr Al Dossary.
He claimed that officials must follow the directives of the Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to compensate fishermen after a meeting with society officials to discuss their problems.
“We have met Municipalities and Agriculture Minister Dr Juma Al Ka’abi following the Premier’s directives, but nothing has been done to help us through this crisis,” said Mr Al Dossary.
“Striking seems to be the only way for our demands to be met even if we need to raise the issue to international authorities we will.”
A Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife official told the GDN that it was still working on fulfilling the fishermen’s requests.
“We have been approaching the right authorities to try and meet their demands, but didn’t get any response so far, it takes time,” said the official, who didn’t want to be named.