Fishing at Casino – Traditional Fishery conflicts with Casino Boats in Goa

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The project of "off-shore casinos" supported by the state government is the cause of serious conflicts with the traditional fishermen and a threat to their livelihood.

The concept of a floating casino - a first for India - was introduced in Goa about 10 years ago and has caused more than a few discontent also in the important Catholic community. Since years, Goa is inflamed by the protests of the local fishermen, from the villages of Assolna, Velim, Ambelim, Betul and Cavelossim in South Goa, protesting "only" to protect their livelihoods.

Works to dredge the river undertaken by the State Government intended to facilitate the five-star hotels to anchor their huge boat casinos on the river Sal. They are gigantic boats that could not stay in the bay. The conflict is unequal, the casinos pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state, while fishermen, well, they are simply considered an issue.

Dredging means that they lose much of crustaceans and molluscs and thousands of local fishermen lose their daily sustenance. It's already happened and will continue to happen.

About 500 fishermen and about 5,000 workers dependent on fisheries survive on the fishery resources of the river Sal. A group of traditional fishermen consortium was set up about 10 years ago, when the state government decided to start to dredge the Sal river.


Over the years the dredging has never really stopped despite interruptions due to the protests. Opponents in fact organized (and still organize ) meetings in the affected villages and put pressure on the government to completely abandon the plans.

In Goa, as well as having introduced the casino offshore, they also have a legislation that supports the opening of casinos in five-star hotels. At first only five offshore casinos were authorized by the government, including the Caravela, the first of its kind in the country. Caravela was the first offshore casino to become operational around ten years ago.

Of the five companies, to which at the beginning was given license to set up casinos in Goa, three kept waiting for the waters to calm down. Today "by sight" there are at least 7-8 gigantic boats visible from the promenade of Panjim, in Goa they are about 20 in all the bay. New casinos are in the process of opening (see photos).

The tourism in recent years has changed a lot in Goa, which attracts more and more foreign moneyed tourists (many Russians ) who come here especially for the casinos. Meanwhile, the two realities coexist "peacefully", while new dredging works are continuously started.



©2013 Marco Palladino




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