Mechanised boat fishermen who ended the 61 day fishing ban period on the night of Wednesday have agreed to cut short their fishing to half a day as the first day of fishing clashed with the fishing day of country boat fishermen.
To facilitate smooth fishing between the two fishermen, officials of the Fisheries department convened a meeting of the two fishermen groups from Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai and Thanjavur on Tuesday evening but failed to convince the country boat fishermen, who opposed allowing mechanised boat fishermen on their fishing day on Thursday.
As the ban fishing, which was imposed on April 15 was drawing to a close at Wednesday midnight, the officials suggested that the mechanised boat fishermen could obtain fishing permits on Thursday morning and return on Friday morning. But this was opposed to by the country boat fishermen, who at one stage, walked out to register their protest.
As per the existing practice, country boat fishermen ventured into the Palk Straits for fishing on four days a week and mechanised boat fishermen three days a week. “We are not against mechanised boat fishermen venturing into the sea on Thursday but against the collapse of the system,” G Arul, Coordinator, Country Boat Fishermen Association said.
The country boat fishermen suggested that the mechanised boat fishermen could start venturing into the sea from Wednesday afternoon and return back on Thursday morning, but officials maintained that they could go for fishing only after the end of the ban at midnight Wednesday.
As country boat fishermen threatened to stage protest, the mechanised boat fishermen agreed to venture into sea after midnight and return on Thursday morning, restricting their fishing to half a day.
“For the first time in recent times, we will set out to the sea for fishing at midnight,” P Sesu Raja, leader of a mechanised boat fishermen association said. The fishermen normally ventured into the sea in the morning and return, the next day morning, he said adding they would resume normal fishing from Saturday.
On Wednesday, fishing jetties in Rameswaram, Pamban and Mandapam witnessed buzz of activities as the fishermen began loading the boats with ration items, icebars and fishing paraphernalia.