Conservation period will help replenish marine species, say fishermen

All the mechanised boats and trawlers have returned to the fishing harbour here as the annual conservation period also known as ban for 47 days will come into force from early hours of April 15.

Fishermen hope that the conservation period will help in protecting replenishment of marine species thereby helping them to have a better catch.

Incidentally, all the boat owners’ unions and the federation of trawler owners earlier represented to the government to extend the ban period to 60 days as was done in 2010.

“High operational cost and falling catch have become matters of grave concern for all of us operating boats from Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Nizamapatnam and Krishnapatnam. In fact many of the boats had suspended their operations even before the ban came into force,” Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy, president of Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association, said.

There are about 600 mechanised boats being operated from Visakhapatnam. The ban period is used for annual maintenance of vessels like wood, propeller, gear, tank and engine repair.

Some even go for painting to give the vessel a new-look. All this will entail an expenditure of at least Rs.1 lakh.

“The government should give sustenance allowance to the workers who depend on boats for their livelihood. During 47 days, there won’t be any work for them. Rice being given to khalasis and other crew is also not being distributed regularly,” says P.Ch. Appa Rao, president of Andhra Pradesh Mechanised Boat Operators’ Association.

The boat owners say workers engaged in boats do not know any work and suffer loss of income during the ban period.

Hence, they want the government to introduce a cash transfer scheme as is being done in Pondicherry and few other areas.

They have already represented to the government to give them Rs.4,500 per head so as to meet their both ends met during the ban period.

After the end of the ban, fishing will resume with renewed vigour from June 1. Fishermen have also sought implementation of uniform ban in all the nine maritime States.