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Thu 16 Oct 2008 07:46 AM

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Crunch talks as Bahrain fishermen mull strike action

Land reclamation at centre of row as boat owners claim compensation.

Talks are under way to avoid a potential nationwide strike by Bahrain's fishermen.

Bahraini boat owners are threatening to keep their fishing vessels in port, unless they get government protection for their livelihoods, Gulf Daily News reported on Thursday.

Fish would be off the menu in Bahrain's shops and markets if talks fail and the strike goes ahead, Fishermen's Protection Society president Waheed Al Dossary told the paper.

It would be a last resort, preceded by a petition and demonstrations to highlight the fishermen's plight, if nothing is done, he added.

Boat owners claim land reclamation has robbed them of ports and damaged fisheries, for which they were demanding compensation or payments to subsidise their income.

They also wanted exemption from new labour fees for employing expatriates, which it is claimed would cripple an already-struggling industry.

Mr Al Dossary said owners were waiting to see the outcome of a meeting next week with Municipalities and Agricultural Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi.

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