Staff Reporter

Panel to study the impact of trawling ban soon

Marine Enforcement, Coast Guard put on alert to enforce banMechanised boats that violate ban to be impoundedEnvironmental group demands suspension of all fishing activities

KOCHI: Foreign trawlers will not be permitted to operate in the Kerala waters during the annual monsoon trawl ban period, Fisheries Minister S. Sarma has said.

Talking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, Mr. Sarma said that action would be initiated against foreign trawlers found violating the ban order. The Marine Enforcement and the Coast Guard have been put on alert in this regard, he said.

On the proposed expert committee to study the impacts of monsoon trawl ban, Mr. Sarma said that the panel would be constituted soon.

Collector's warning

Staff Reporter writes from Kollam: District Collector B. Sreenivas has warned that mechanised fishing boats found violating the 45-day ban on trawling which begins at 12 midnight on Wednesday will be impounded and criminal case registered against the violators.

Over 400 mechanised fishing boats were at sea on Wednesday night and they were seeking permission to enter the Shakthikulangara-Neendakara twin harbours on Thursday morning to sell their catch.

Mr. Sreenivas said no such concession would be given to them. The rules are clear and all boats will have to cross over to the eastern side of the Neendakara bridge by 12 midnight.

The Collector alleged that a section of the boat owners were unnecessarily creating problems. The Government Order will have to be strictly adhered to, he said. Those violating the rules will have to face the consequences, he added.

Researchers' plea

Kerala Environment Researchers' Association president Sainudeen Pattazhy has called for the suspension of all fishing activities from June to September in the interests of conserving marine wealth.

In a statement here on Wednesday, he said the 45-day ban on trawling alone was not sufficient.

The southwest monsoon, from June to September, is the most biologically sensitive period as far as the sea is concerned. It is one of the peak spawning periods for many fish such as oil sardine, Indian mackerel, penaeid prawns, fin fish and ribbon fish. Dr. Pattazhy said the monsoon winds replenished the nutrients in the upper layers of the ocean and the prevailing environmental factors in the marine ecology induced biological activities of the fish.

The present trawling ban suspends the use of mechanised outboard engines exceeding 25 HP capacity. But at the same time, the rules allow fishing by traditional crafts. This activity will also disturb the marine ecosystem. Moreover, during this period, mechanised crafts from other States and countries engage in deep-sea fishing off the Kerala waters. This spoils the whole purpose of the trawling ban, he said.