Delay in payment of defense insurance harms fishermen in the EC
The protection of lobster, a protective measure that prevents fishing from December to May each year, leaves around eight thousand artisanal fishermen out of work on the Ceará coast. To make up for the lack of income during this period, the Federal Government provides defense insurance, a resource paid in five installments in the amount of one minimum wage each. However, the release of the resource, which was supposed to start in January, has not yet started.
The delay in payment has serious consequences for the fishermen's families. According to the president of the Federation of Fishermen's Colony of Ceará, Raimundo Félix, the delay is due to the slowness in the analysis of the processes by the National Social Security Institute (INSS). "The fisherman gathers a series of documents and sends them to the INSS for technicians to carry out the analysis, but there are few professionals, which leads to a delay in releasing the payment", points out Raimundo.
The INSS explained, by note, that there are no exclusive servers for defense insurance. "The requirements are worked out together with other demands, such as social security and assistance benefits". Félix, however, criticizes the model and suggests that the benefit be released automatically "based on who received it in the last three years", without the need for analysis. "The moment is delicate, we are experiencing a pandemic, a limitation of resources and professionals, the government should be sensitized and release payment," he added.
Despite the fishermen's complaints, according to the INSS, there is no deadline for the start of payment. "As the processes are analyzed and completed, the payment will be released. There is no forecast to start". Currently, only in the area covered by the Management of Fortaleza, there are 2,800 applications pending in the INSS. State general numbers were not reported. All this amount, according to Raimundo Félix, is being inspected "by a single technician".
The Executive manager of the INSS, in Fortaleza, Francismar Lucena, confirms the information, but recalls that "Social Security has two million cases held back" and guarantees that next week it will "place ten more servers". Also according to Lucena, in this period without presence in person, due to social isolation, the processes must advance.
The coordinator of Public Policies of the Fishermen's Union of Icapuí, Tobias Soares da Silva, stressed that there are two thousand boats stopped on the coast in compliance with the shellfish season. "The fishermen obey, comply with the law and spend six months without fishing, but they need this money. The situation of the families is serious and every day it only gets worse," he lamented.
About to enter the fourth month without payment, the fishermen count the losses. "We are indebted to the grocery stores, everything is late, and the merchants no longer want to sell to us. How will we do it?", asks artisanal fisherman Adjailson Bezerra de Souza, known as Jajá.
On the coast of Beberibe, the reality is the same. Fishermen say they are surviving through donations. "If it weren't for the generosity of other people, we would already be starving," says fisherman Pedro Lima. "We are not asking anyone for a favor, we just want to receive what is rightfully ours," adds Lima.
Tobias recalls that, "even in the face of this situation, fishermen cannot seek other income alternatives, as it goes against the rules of defense insurance." One of the requirements for accessing the social security benefit is exclusive dedication to fishing.
The fisherman who applies for the insurance signs a declaration confirming that he has no other source of income and that he "dedicated himself to fishing for the species and in the localities affected by the closed season, on an exclusive and uninterrupted basis". If the information reported is not consistent with the real situation of the interested party, the artisanal fisherman will be held civilly and criminally liable.
Source: Diário do Ceará