Coastal Karnataka Fishermen Action Committee has sought restriction on the number of boats allowed to operate from Fisheries Harbours at Bunder here and at the Malpe harbour near Udupi.

In a statement here, its general secretary Vasudev Boloor said that more and more boats were being added every year to the fleet without considering the carrying capacity of the harbour. The permission to build more boats should be disallowed till the fishing wharfs in the two harbours were expanded.

While the expansion at Malpe had begun, the tender for the Mangalore project had been withheld without giving any reasons, he said.

He has demanded that dredging of the bar-mouth had to be started at the earliest at Mangalore Fisheries Harbour as silt formation had been causing accidents leading to loss of lives. A Rs. 3 crore project in this regard had been pending for a long time, he said.

Suresh Kumar Ullal, Deputy Director, Department of Fisheries, said there was a government order that allowed addition of 100 boats every year.

The department had been following this order. About 1,200 boats were operating from the Bunder Harbour, including about 75 purse-seine boats.

However, sources in the department admitted that the Bunder harbour was overcrowded and addition of more boats was not advisable.

The Rs. 57-crore third phase project of the Harbour had been pending with the Chief Engineer, the Public Works Department, he said. The tender had been opened already and authorities concerned had recommended the choice of the lowest bidder already, he said.