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Old December 20th, 2003, 06:30 PM
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Default OT but makes for good streamside chit chat: Fisherman Priest Declines Pew Foundation Award

Fisherman Priest Declines Pew Foundation Award
NEW DELHI (CWN) -- Redemptorist Father Thomas Kochery,
hailed as a champion of India's 8 million traditional fishermen, on
Wednesday turned down a $150,000 award from the Pew Charitable Foundation of
Massachusetts saying the award sponsored by the Sun Oil Company is "blood

The Pew Foundation, instituted by the Sun, has been "one of the largest
polluters in the US. He (Father Kochery) believes that a polluter giving an
award for marine conservation is a contradiction," said a statement from the
World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers meeting in New Delhi
attended by over 150 delegates from 32 fishing countries. The foundation
chose Father Kochery, the founding director of the National Fish Workers
Forum in India, for its prestigious fellowship for "outstanding scientists,
researchers, and conservation activists dedicated to the conservation and
sustainable use of marine sources" in June for "his leadership in the fight
against foreign fishing vessels."

Countrywide protests by traditional fishermen under the leadership of Father
Kochery against environmentally destructive trawlers and foreign fishing
vessels in Indian waters had achieved a crucial breakthrough earlier this
year when the government decided not to renew the licenses of foreign
fishing vessels. "The Sun Oil Company is one of the worst polluters of the
sea. I will be betraying the fishermen, if I receive this fellowship,"
Father Kochery told CWN. "For us, what is important is not the award or
money but fighting forces that destroys marine resources and put in peril
fishermen's lives," said the priest who had ventured to sea daily with
fishermen for a decade in the 70s before he started campaigning for their

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James Ehlers

Outdoors Magazine