In operating tuna long-liners
KOLLAM: The first batch of four fishermen sent to Mumbai for getting trained in operating tuna long-liners arrived back here on Friday after successfully completing the training.
Tuna long-liners are specially-designed fishing vessels used exclusively for tuna fishing. On their arrival, they met District Collector A. Shajahan and explained to him the prospects acquired through the new skill. The four — Pramod, Rajit, Aneesh Kumar and Shyam Kumar — are from Alapad in Kollam district. They were given training by the Fishery Survey of India (FSI) on the Mumbai waters for 20 days on FSI vessel “Matsya Vrishti.”
Deputy Director of Fisheries K.J. Prasanna Kumar said the next batch of four fishermen would be sent to Mumbai for the same training on April 8.
The fishermen who returned after training said they felt that the new method would provide them with a better means of livelihood. In addition to tuna, other big fish like sailfish and sharks could be caught easily through the new method. The training was for a period of 20 days. They said that during the training, they had caught more than five tonnes of tuna each weighing 20 to 60 kg.
The Fisheries Department has turned its attention to tuna long-liners as part of a two-pronged strategy. One is to ease the pressure of the depleting shrimp resources and other for exploiting the rich tuna resources of the Indian waters which have tremendous export potential.
Mr. Prasanna Kumar said that conversion of the existing vessels into tuna long-liners called for an investment of Rs.15.25 lakh. An amount of Rs.7.5 lakh was being provided as subsidy by the State. An allocation of Rs.1 crore had been made in the budget for the purpose.
As per an FSI study, the Indian waters had a tuna potential of 2.42 lakh tonne per annum. But hardly 25,000 tonne were exploited. The four fishermen were qualified enough to provide preliminary training to other fishermen.