Madurai

Deep sea fishing nets them a bountiful catch

Rameswaram fishermen who ventured into deep sea fishing with their catch at Thoppumpady fishing harbour in Cochin.

Rameswaram fishermen who ventured into deep sea fishing with their catch at Thoppumpady fishing harbour in Cochin.   | Photo Credit: handout_e_mail

Three fishermen have made an earning of more than ₹2.50 lakh each per voyage

The first batch of Rameswaram fishermen who made a maiden venture into deep sea fishing, ending decades-long bottom trawling, were elated with a sense of hope and success as the first two fortnight-long voyages in the Arabian Sea turned out to be lucrative.

After Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami formally launched the project on April 1, 33 fishermen had set out for deep sea fishing in three vessels – ‘Tuna long liners cum gill netter’ – from Cochin and completed two voyages, each lasting for 16 days with the hope of scripting success stories.

After tackling some practical difficulties in the first voyage, the fishermen made good the second voyage with an average catch of 7.9 tonnes per vessel. “We are happy with the new venture and confident of making it successful,” Anand Baiva, the Rameswaram fisherman, who owns one of the vessels, said.

He and two other beneficiaries of the Centre-State sponsored project made an earning of more than ₹2.50 lakh each per voyage after meeting all expenses, he said and exuded confidence of emerging successful. More than making money, they were free from stress and anxiety - synonymous with bottom trawling in the Palk Bay, he said.

Rameswaram fishermen used to spend sleepless nights due to fear of getting arrested by the Sri Lankan navy while fishing in the Palk Bay and those who have switched over to deep sea fishing feel liberated now, he said and hoped others would follow suit. The beneficiaries have started repaying their bank loans after the second voyage, he added.

Officials said in the first voyage from April 1-16, fishermen in the three vessels returned with an average catch of 6.5 tonnes but made bigger catch to 7.9 tonnes in the second voyage from April 21 to May 6. In the second voyage, fishermen in each boat sold the catch for ₹8.5 lakh and after meeting the expenses of ₹2.23 lakh, they shared the earnings with the vessel owners.

While the owner got a share of ₹3.76 lakh, the 12 workers in a vessel shared ₹2.51 lakh, officials said. The catch comprised bullet tuna, black marlin, istiophorus platypterus (sail fish), skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna and albacore tuna – the species catering to the export market, officials said. The Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) certified the quality of the catch before sale.

The fishermen, who were presently operating from Thoppumpady harbour near Cochin fishing harbour with special permission from Kerala government, would set up their bases at Mookaiyur fishing harbour and Kunthukal fish landing centre in the district once the facilities were made ready.

Presently, 39 vessels were in different stages of construction at different ship building companies, officials said adding at least eight vessels, including four from Cochin Shipyard Limited, would be ready for launch by the month-end. More fishermen have evinced interest in placing orders after seeing the success stories of their colleagues, they said.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:51:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/deep-sea-fishing-nets-them-a-bountiful-catch/article27173325.ece

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