During low tide, movement of fishing boats is affected

The formation of sand dunes at the mouth of a channel opening into the Bay of Bengal here is posing a challenge to Coast Guard and fishermen community alike. The fishermen complain that the sand dunes are obstructing the movement of their boats as the government had not taken any initiative for several decades, including dredging.

During low tide, the water level in the channel almost touches the sand dunes. As a result it blocks the movement of fishing boats from coming into the jetty. Marine police boats are no exception. They, hardly, venture into the sea during low tide. The government should take up dredging as being done at other harbours in the State. “If the authorities don't move quickly, the question would not be when the next catch will come in, but whether we will be able to go out for the next catch?” the fishermen say.

The police personnel, who did not want to be quoted, told The Hindu that the ‘paatu' (ebb) time in the sea was a challenging task. The patrol boats cannot sail smoothly due to silting in the channel and at the mouth of channel. “In case of emergency, we have to depend on private sona boats, which have high capacity engines. It is risky to sail in existing patrol boats if wind velocity exceeded 25 kmph,” they said. The police require boats that have high stability and high horse power engines, they opine. The marine police used a private sona boat when some fishermen from Sri Lanka strayed into Indian waters sometime ago, the police recall. Fishermen Yedukondalu and Narasimha Rao said that they were not able to meet their full potential on account of the increasing size of sand dune at the mouth of the channel.

Dangerous

It makes entering the bay highly dangerous and substantial numbers of boats get stranded in the attempt to cross the dunes. The small boats stuck in the low tide suffer the worst, as they have to wait for hours for the next high tide to get in or move out. Many fishermen suffered financial losses, as their boats were wrecked after getting struck in the sand, they said.

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