Get Ready To Pay BIG Bucks on Fish as Fishing Ban Starts Today-1 June-31 July
Mangaluru: Come tomorrow, you could be paying BIG bucks on the purchase of fish, since the BAN on fishing started today, 1 June. The Department of Fisheries has informed that it has banned fishing by mechanised boats from June 1 to July 31 across the Karnataka coast. The main objective of banning deep sea fishing is to protect fish wealth as commercially important species breed during this period. It is to prevent juvenile fishing and also excessive fishing. While the fishing ban is in force, all kinds of trawlers and conventional boats retrofitted with engines with more than 10 HP capacity are prohibited from venturing into the sea and carrying on fishing activities.
However, fishing boats fitted with engines of up to 10 HP will be allowed to carry out fishing during the period. Similarly, the use of nets and other similar equipment to catch fish has been banned. Last year, the government had reduced the deep-sea fishing ban period in the coastal districts from the usual 61 days to 47 days effective from June 15 to July 31. It was in view of hardship faced by fishermen due to the lockdown and COVID-19 situation. Hence, fishermen had been given an extra fortnight’s time to carry out deep-sea fishing. It has been noted that the ban has been enforced as per the Karnataka Marine Fishing (Regulation) Act.
Besides this, the Union Ministry for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries has also banned fishing by mechanized boats in all coastal states of the country from 12 to 200 nautical miles in the sea. It had thus implemented a uniform ban for all coastal States. The department has also stated that those fishermen and fishing boats violating the ban would be penalised as per the provisions of the Act. Besides this, they would also become ineligible for getting subsidized diesel for one year. All fishermen had been urged to follow this directive and cooperate with the government.
Mangaluru Trawl Boat Owners Association president Nitin Kumar speaking to the media said that like other sectors, fisheries too have been hit hard due to COVID-19 and lockdown. Deep-sea fishing activities in the State came to a halt for three months, from June to August, last year. Though fishing resumed in September, it had to be abandoned for a few days after September 15 due to the cyclone. Though fishing resumed in late October, the catch was meagre. “It was not even 50% of the usual catch,” he said.
Many of the 800 to 900 trawl boats (that are involved in deep-sea fishing beyond 15 km-20 km from the coast) in Mangaluru fishing boats did not sail out for fishing due to the hike in diesel prices, meagre catch and labour issue. It was the same in the case of Purse Seine boats that sail out for fishing up to 15 km-20 km. “Only about 50 trawl boats were sailing out in Mangaluru after November,” Kumar, who is also the chairman of Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation (KFDC), said and added that about 25 Purse Seine boats were carrying out fishing in shallow waters.
He also said that when the second lockdown began in late April, many of the labourers from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu left the city. The fisheries sector is gasping for breath ever since COVID-19 started, he said.