Trawl boat association says government should discuss with it before taking decision

The Malpe Fishermen’s Deep Sea Trawl Boat Association has objected to the statement of the Minister of State for Fisheries, Sports and Youth Services K. Abhayachandra Jain that bull trawling by deep trawlers would be banned in a fortnight.

Addressing presspersons here on Monday, president of the association Dayananda Kundar said that Mr. Jain had been misled by the Udupi MLA Pramod Madhwaraj and the Malpe Purse Seine Boat Fishermen’s Association with regard to bull trawling. Bull-trawling was being done by about 73 foreign deep-sea trawlers with 10,000 HP engines, which had been given permission by the Union government. Though, bull-trawlers should be fishing beyond 12 nautical miles from seashore, they were fishing within the 12 nautical miles.

The trawlers from Malpe with 350 HP engines were engaged only in “middle water trawling”.

The difference between bull-trawling and middle water trawling is that under bull-trawling, a net is spread between two trawlers from deep under the sea to the top and the fish are caught. Under the middle water trawling, the net is spread only from the middle of the sea water to the top. Hence, the question of decline of fish progeny did not arise at all in case of middle water trawling.

This middle water trawling was being done from August to October only because during this period the squids and ribbon fish were available in abundance.

If they were not caught, these fishes migrated. From November to June, all trawlers caught fish individually. “In the local language, this middle water trawling itself is called as bull-trawling,” he said.

The Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Kochi, was holding workshops in all coastal states and encouraging fishermen to take up middle water trawling. Karnataka earned between Rs. 2,000 crore to Rs. 3,000 crore due to exports of squids and ribbon fish.

There were about 1,400 mechanized boats at the Malpe fisheries harbour. Of these mechanized boats, 150 were small trawlers, 400 mid-level trawlers, 780 deep-sea trawlers and 106 purse-seine boats. The purse seine boats caught fish which moved in a group.

It was due to catching the fish in a group by the purse seine boats that traditional fishing or seashore fishing, known by names such as rampani, kairampani and others, had been adversely affected.

Nearly 30,000 persons were directly employed, while 70,000 persons were indirectly employed in trawler fishing.

Besides, several ice plants and businessmen were dependent on fishing done by trawl boats.

The State government was also not giving feasibility letters to the purse-seine boats.

The purse-seine boats were using 8 mm fishnets, which led to many small fish being caught, destroying fish progeny.

The 97 per cent of trawlers in Malpe could not be converted into purse-seine boats, but the seven per cent of purse-seine boats could be converted into trawlers with a little investment.

Demands

The association said that the State government should call a meeting of the fishermen working in trawlers and purse-seine boats and traditional fishermen before taking a decision to ban bull-trawling. The government should ban mechanised fishing for 50 days during the monsoon.

To protect fish progeny, the use of nets below 30 mm should be banned. The local fishmeal companies should purchase discarded fish from local fishermen than from other states.

The Union Government should make a uniform fisheries policy for all Coastal states, Mr. Suvarna said.

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