They stay away following clampdown on 'oily water' leak from fish-laden lorries
: Fishing activities were hit in Ramewaram as traders of sardine (pechalai) fish failed to turn up to procure the catch.
More than 50 traders from Tuticorin and a few from Kerala stayed away and stopped procuring the fish as police, in coordination with the Regional Transport Office (RTO), had clamped down on the transportation of fish.
As leak of “oily water” from the fish-laden lorries caused road accidents and public complained about the foul odder emanating from moving trucks, the police imposed strict restrictions on the transportation.
Aggrieved by the restrictions, traders stayed away since Sunday and fishermen stopped venturing into the sea for fishing in the absence of marketing facilities.
Only 223 smaller mechanised boats ventured into the sea for fishing of prawn and other species on Tuesday while more than 400 bigger mechanised boats, used for fishing of sardine, stayed on shore, sources in Fisheries Department said.
High quality sardine was transported to Kerala while the sardine of lower quality had no demand in the local market.
But Tuticorin traders procure it as they have facilities for drying the fish for poultry feed.
The problem arose during the peak season when the sardine fish catch reached close to 1,500 tonnes a day. About 300 odd mechanised boats were engaged in sardine fishing in the Palk Bay using trawl net and the catch by each boat ranged from five to seven tonnes, the sources said.
Meanwhile, representatives of the aggrieved fishermen met the Collector K.Nanthakumar here on Tuesday and sought his intervention to resolve the issue. They suggested that the district administration could specify a particular time at night for the transportation without causing inconvenience to the public.
They requested him to provide them facilities to dry the fish in Rameswaram or set up a fish mill plant to add value to the fish and market, Mr. Sesu Raja, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Coastal Mechanised Boat Owners Association, who attended the meeting, told “The Hindu.”
“January to March is a crucial period as we earn money during this season to eke out a living for the rest of the year and repay our debts,” he said.
Superintendent of Police N. M. Mylvahanan said the police had clamped down on the transportation of fish without proper covering and using tarpaulin at the base, which resulted in leak of water from the trucks causing accidents and inconvenience to the public because of the foul smell.