The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) General Secretary T. Peter passed away at the Government Medical College Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. He was hospitalised there earlier this month after he contracted COVID-19.
Peter, 62, one among the prominent leaders of the fishing community in the country, is also a top leader of the Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF) largest fishermen organisation in Kerala.
Over the past three-and-a-half decades, Peter was an active participant in various struggles on issues impacting the fishing community.
He is survived by his wife and fishing community leader Maglin Peter and one daughter Dona.
“The fishermen community managed to resist some of the undesired developments orchestrated from administrative and scientific bodies due to the well-organised leadership of Peter,” reads a statement issued by KSMTF.
Peter was currently serving as editor of Alakal, the mouthpiece of the KSMTF.
He was also currently serving as en executive committe member of World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), a mass-based social movement of small-scale fisher people from across the world and senate member of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter was actively worked for his community which is facing intense hardships with the lockdowns and adverse weather conditions preventing fishing activity.
“I can tell what fish is swimming in the water from a distance but these specialists cannot because they only have reports, papers, jargon. I have knowledge of the sky, the currents, the water, its smell, its colour, its depth (madam, neram, arram) without measuring with instruments. We know the depth of the sea,” in an interview with well-known sociologist and social anthropologist Susan Visvanathan, Peter said.