Ban on mechanised fishing boats along Ernakulam coast

Concern over fishers from Tamil Nadu reaching district during lockdown

The Fisheries Department has said that the movement of mechanised fishing boats in and out of Ernakulam district has been strictly prohibited during the 21-day lockdown period to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mechanised fishing boats have also been banned from engaging in fishing activities during the lockdown period. There was some ground to believe that fishers from Tamil Nadu reached Ernakulam district in fishing boats, said a statement by the the Public Relations Department.

No boats with registration outside Kerala are allowed to be brought to any of the harbours in the State. If there is any person of Kerala origin wanting to enter Ernakulam district, he may contact the Fisheries Department, according to the statement.

Diesel supply

If any boat from another State is in need of diesel, the boat operators should get in touch with the Vypeen Fisheries Station between 10 a. m. and 5 p.m. The boat will be supplied with diesel in the presence of an officer of the Fisheries Department.

Boats with Kerala registration that had gone for fishing before March 24 can enter Ernakulam district only with the permission of the Fisheries Department. Fish can be unloaded only after inspections are carried out by health officials. The operators will also have to do away with the practice of auction to sell fish.

If any of the boat operators violate these conditions, strict action will be taken, says the press release.

The numbers to be contacted are: Vypeen Fisheries Station — 0484 2502768; Fisheries Control Room — 9496007048

Fishers’ allegation

Meanwhile, the National Fish Workers’ Forum has alleged that there is a move by boat owners in the State to ‘sabotage’ the annual ban on trawling under the cover of the shutdown following the spread of COVID-19.

A statement issued by forum general secretary T. Peter claims that the Central government had issued a notification imposing 61-day trawling ban on east and west coasts of India. The period is from April 15 on the east coast and from June 1 on the west coast, the statement says.

However, there is a move to circumvent this annual practice. If boat owners try not to follow the annual ban, traditional fishermen will be forced to block their operations even in the sea, the statement says.

The forum also says that State and Union governments had ignored difficulties facing the fisheries sector. “Fishers have been neglected in the financial packages brought out by governments,” the statement says and it calls for an allowance of ₹10,000 each for fishers’ families for a period of three months to overcome the present crisis.

Just like the marine fisheries sector, inland fisheries too is in trouble following the spread of the pandemic, the statement adds.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:02:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ban-on-mechanised-fishing-boats-along-ernakulam-coast/article31264014.ece

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