Roy Mathew

Government convenes meeting on Monday to resolve the issue

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Marine fishing regulations have again become controversial with the demand for something of a fishing holiday in place of a seasonal ban on trawling.

History has almost come a full circle with a section of the fishing boat owners now demanding a total ban on fishing during the monsoon and traditional fishermen opposing it.

The boat owners had opposed the seasonal ban on trawling when the traditional fishermen demanded it in eighties and nineties.

The Government is convening a meeting of all concerned on May 29 in Kochi to resolve the issue. The Government order on the proposed regulations is expected in June.

Fish conservation

The fishing holiday and the ban on trawling are aimed at conservation of fish resources. The ban is introduced during monsoon every year, which is the spawning season of many varieties of fish. A study by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute has favoured a total ban on fishing during monsoon rather than a ban on bottom trawling alone.

The traditional fishermen said that they wanted only the bottom trawling to be banned during monsoon as that disturbed the seabed, leading to destruction of fishlings and eggs. They were not opposed to mechanised boats using gillnets or fishing lines.

The boat owners pointed out that scientific studies recommending a total ban should be followed. Several countries had introduced fishing holidays to conserve fish stock.

The Kerala Swatantra Fish Workers Federation alleges that the aim behind the proposal for a total ban is the import of fish.

If the Government approved the proposal, the traditional fishing community will face starvation.

Federation president T. Peter said that they would break any such regulation. They would not allow trawlers to operate during the monsoon.

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