‘Action will be taken against erring boat owners’

The district administration has warned stern action against mechanised boat fishermen, crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and using banned nets when they resume fishing after the 45-day ban on May 29.

“Stern action will be taken against the boat owners under the Tamil Nadu Marine Regulation Act, 1983, if they failed to adhere to the guidelines and used the banned pair trawling and purse seine nets,” District Collector K.Nanthakumar has said.

In an official release, Mr.Nanthakumar said the mechanised boat fishermen should set out for fishing only after obtaining tokens and should not indulge in fishing within three nautical miles from the shore, the area earmarked for country craft fishermen.

The fishermen should not cross the IMBL and should not use or carry in their boats, the banned nets. They should not catch endangered marine life, the Collector said, adding that the size of the boat and engine capacity should match the details in the registration certificate.

Warning the fishermen against using engines with a capacity of more than 150 HP, the Collector said they should renew their licences and display the registration numbers on the boats.

The fishermen should carry life-saving appliances in their boats, he said, adding that they should also carry their identity cards. However, leaders of fishermen associations said they could not avoid crossing the IMBL and wanted the State and Central Governments to arrange a meeting with their Sri Lankan counterparts to sort out the issue. They were willing to abide by all other conditions, they added.

The use of banned nets of pair trawling and purse seine by the Indian fishermen is the bone of contention as the Sri Lankan fishermen strongly opposed to it, saying it was affecting their livelihood.

Fishermen association leaders, in an informal chat with The Hindu, conceded that they had realised the problem and they should avoid using the banned nets and start using gill nets to find an amicable solution.

Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation interacted with the fishermen in Rameswaram on Friday and stressed the need to avoid using banned nets, sources said.

The NGO offered to hold talks with the Sri Lankan fishermen and ensure trouble-free fishing in the Palk Strait bay if the Rameswaram fishermen gave an undertaking that they would not use the banned nets, the sources added.

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