Fishermen Gearing Up for Fishing Business Again
Mangaluru: The Bunder fishing dock area is once again back in action with fishermen gearing up for fishing. After the 61-day ban on fishing ended on Sunday, it’s once again fishing season starting today, 1 August. The government had banned fishing in deep sea trawlers, purse seine and mechanized boats from June 1 to July 31 in the west coast.. But Country boats with less than 10 HP outboard engines have been carrying out fishing even during the ban period.
Although the fishing season has started again, but the Coast Guard has urged the community to take precautionary measures. The Coast Guard has urged fishermen to undertake seaworthiness checks of their boats in a systematic manner. Special community interaction programmes with the fishing community would be organised to sensitize them on safety aspects. Special instructions from the coast guard are: The fishermen should check weather forecasts, carry distance alerting transmitters, radio communication equipment, life saving appliances, documents of boats, Biometric identity cards, additional mobile phones/batteries, temporary repair kits, first aid kit, extra fuel and ration, flashlights with additional batteries and necessary medicines while venturing into sea.
Fishing boats should operate either in pairs or groups. Coast Guard Karnataka has also requested all merchant ships and dhows to follow the laid down SOPs (standard operating procedures). The masters of the merchant vessels should ensure sea worthiness of their vessels. They should also ensure even loading and proper securing of the cargo. Frequent rounds of the ships should be undertaken. Maintenance and upkeep of the machinery and propulsion systems should be undertaken as per schedule. The second anchor and chain cable should be kept standby in case of the merchant vessels at anchorage.
Besides rescue ships, the Coast Guard has been operating Dornier aircraft equipped for swift response to maritime Search and Rescue, pollution and maritime reconnaissance capabilities for the coastal security of the State. The assistance from Indian Coast Guard can be sought round the clock on toll free number – 1554. VHF channel 16 may also be utilized for reporting the emergency situation on the boats. Defective boats should not venture into the sea. Only authorized personnel should be carried on-board. Children below 14 years are not permitted to be employed for fishing at sea. The following numbers may also be contacted in case of emergency: Police-100, Coast Guard-0824 2405269/2405270 and Ambulance-108. In case of distress, details like GPS position, type of emergency, colour of boat and number of crew including photograph should be forwarded for timely assistance.
More than the roughness of the sea during monsoon season, the main reason for the 61-day ban was environmental since it is the breeding season for fish and they lay eggs along the coast during the season. Hence, most of the fish will be along the coast at during the period and easily fall prey to the trawler boats. The reckless fishing during monsoon will adversely affect fishing in the later months. During this ban period, the fishermen work on the boats, paint them, check for any maintenance, repairing nets etc etc.
Sources reveal that Karnataka has 5.93 lakh hectares of inland water resources, 8,000 hectare of brackish water and 320 km of coastline with 27,000 sq. km of continental shelf. The State has 17,927 fishing boats and trawlers with 3.28 lakh people being employed in the fishing industry. Karnataka is ranked sixth in marine fish production in India (about 5.55 lakh tonnes every year). There are 65 purse seine boats in Dakshina Kannada (and 89 in Udupi), 1,370 gill-net boats (3,998 in Udupi), 515 traditional boats (1,871 in Udupi) and 1,018 trawl boats in Dakshina Kannada (1,949 in Udupi). There are nearly 66,000 fishermen in Dakshina Kannada and 1.20 lakh fishermen in Udupi district.
During the fishing ban, fish lovers had to shell out big bucks to but their favorite fish, but now with the fishing back into business, fish consumers are hoping that the price of fish would come down. During the ban period, since the fish was supplied to Mangaluru from Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh coast, the price of fish was high due to transportation cost. Mohammed Hussain, a fish boat owner speaking to Team Mangalorean said, ” Fishing will be in full operation within couple of days. Few boats will venture into the sea later today, and many others will start operating tomorrow. Presently fish is been hauled into the city from other coastal regions. Once the fishing activity gets into full swing, and when the catch is good, surely the price of fish will come down drastically. Until then fish lovers have bear with us”