Social activist for adequate number of prawn hatcheries in State
BERHAMPUR: Large-scale illegal collection of prawn spawns and mother prawns continues on the Orissa coast.
The Fisheries Department has failed to check it although this illegal operation has affected the fish yield on Orissa coast drastically. When contacted, fisheries officials said they did not have any manpower to put curbs on it. The elements behind these illegal operations are using local traditional fishermen for this prawn spawn and mother prawn collection. The gullible and cash crunched traditional fishermen are getting entangled in this operation without realising that they are destroying their own livelihood through it.
At present hundreds of traditional fishermen can be seen at any spot on Orissa coast, including the coast near Rushikulya river mouth involved in collection of prawn seed. They get Rs. 10 for every 100 prawn seeds sold. But in the process of collecting 100 prawn seeds, they kill thousands of spawns of other marine species. In a way this indiscriminate collection of prawn seed is hampering the ecosystem and fish yield from sea near Orissa coast.
According to social activist, Mangaraj Panda, who is working with the fishermen community, this illegal operation is too active near all river mouths and the mouth of Chilika lake as it is the breeding place of all major profitable marine species. He blamed the fisheries department for not coming up with adequate number of prawn hatcheries in the State to meet the need of prawn farms.
“Owing to shortage of prawn seeds there is ample demand for prawn seed and mother prawns collected from sea,” he said.
Prawn seed and mother prawns get transported to outside the State at times through the trains. But it goes unnoticed by the fisheries department and police.
According to Mr. Panda, police has the power to intercept this illegal transportation of prawn seed and mother prawn. But usually its transportation goes unnoticed due to lack of ground level data and least coordination with the fisheries department, he alleged.