They want protection to their boats from gale, cyclone

Fishermen of Tharuvaikulam, a coastal village in Ottapidaram block in the district, want the authorities to build groynes to protect their fishing boats from the onslaught of waves during inclement weather conditions.

Unlike fishermen of other coastal villages, those in Tharuvaikulam never use trawl nets. They were keen in conserving the marine ecology, A.A. Jeyapaul, Tharuvaikulam panchayat president, said here on Sunday.

More than 450 boats, including 100 mechanised boats were engaged in fishing in this region. Since there were no groynes, boats could not be anchored. Except for small country boats, all vessels with heavy weight had to remain 300 meters away from the shore. With a huge weight, fishing boats could not remain in shallow waters by the shore. It was difficult to unload fish from such boats, he said.

By using small country boats, the fish catch was being taken ashore from big boats. Before venturing into the sea for fishing, diesel and ice bars were being carried by small boats from the shore to the big vessels. In 2007, the authorities made an on-the-spot assessment to construct groynes here. A proposal with a cost estimate of Rs. 6 crore was also sent to the State government. But there was no progress since then.

Since there were no groynes on the shore to protect their boats, the vessels get damaged during gale and cyclone, he said.

Last year, owing to rough weather conditions following the onset of southwest monsoon, 85 boats, including five mechanised ones, were damaged. Fisheries Department officials paid a visit and took stock of the extent of damage caused to the boats. But relief assistance was not given to the affected fishermen.

Sources in the Fisheries Department said that they were yet to hear from the government on the establishment of groynes. The fishermen failed to pay insurance premium, the reason why compensation was not given. In the best interest of fishermen, the officials had been urging them to pay the premium to keep alive the insurance cover but nobody was keen in paying it regularly, they said.

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