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Fishermen to violate ban

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PROTEST: Fishermen who own in-board engine fishing craft staging a dharna in Karunagapally on Monday.
PROTEST: Fishermen who own in-board engine fishing craft staging a dharna in Karunagapally on Monday.

Staff Reporter

They say that in-board traditional crafts are not accident-prone as alleged

KOLLAM: Dheevara Sabha district secretary M. Valsalan has said that fishermen in the district who operate traditional fishing crafts with in-board engine will violate the Kerala High Court ban on fishing from August 15.

The Deputy Director of Fisheries has served notice on those operating in-board traditional crafts and their boats should have registration to sail into the sea after August 15.

On Monday, hundreds of fishermen, under the banner of the Dheevara Sabha, marched to the Karunagapally mini civil station on Monday with black ribbons strapped around their mouths to register their protest against the ban. They also registered their protest against the Supreme Court ban till August 15 on fishing vessels using engines above 10 HP. A dharna was inaugurated by Dheevara Sabha State general secretary V. Dinakaran on the occasion.

None of the in-board traditional crafts has registration since these boats are declared `not sea-worthy.' It is in this backdrop that the High Court has banned the operation of these boats following a case filed by an association of mechanised boat owners. Notwithstanding the ban, the number of such boats operating in the State has only increased.

Mr. Valsalan told The Hindu on Monday that the Dheevara Sabha would move the High Court this week against mechanised boat owners for contempt of court for violating the High Court ban on night trawling. The Kerala Marine Fishing Regulation Act 1980 states that trawling is permitted only from dawn to dusk.

Mr. Valsalan said that in-board traditional crafts were not accident-prone as alleged. If these boats were accident prone, it would not have attracted so many fishermen. In-board engine boats have come as a boon to fishermen and have revolutionised the traditional fishing sector, he said.

It is the prime livelihood for thousands of fishermen and their families. ``We have no option but to go for fishing in these boats.'' If the ban stands, thousands of families will have to starve and die, he said. Mr. Valsalan urged the Government to take appropriate steps for getting the ban lifted.

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