Kollam (Kerala), June 1 (IANS) As a 61-day uniform fishing ban announced by the Centre began on Monday, the Coast Guard asked Kerala fishermen, who fish beyond the stipulated 12 nautical miles, to return to where they are legally allowed to fish.
“Two speedboats and a big Coast Guard vessel stopped a few boats in the high seas. They told us we have strayed from the 12 nautical miles and we have to go back. We did return,” a group of fishermen who ventured into the seas from Alappuzha told the media.
The Centre’s trawling ban allows traditional fishermen to fish only in an area up to 12 nautical miles off the coast.
The Kerala government, however, announced that the trawling ban in the state will be in force from June 15 to July 31, which has been the practice for many years.
State Fisheries Minister K. Babu told IANS that the state was not interested in a confrontation with the Centre.
“We have decided that we will have the trawling ban as in the past and it will be for 45 days only,” he said.
“The Centre has asked us to ensure that even traditional fishermen should not venture out into the seas during the ban period.”
Babu said they will be speaking to the Centre again on this issue.
Kerala has 222 marine fishing villages, which have a total of 1,20,486 fishermen households.