Use of banned purse seine nets has Kanniyakumari fishermen up in arms

The use of banned purse seine nets by some country boat fishermen pose serious threat to marine wealth.   | Photo Credit: N. Rajesh

Following the Thoothukudi country boat fishermen, the fishermen in Kanniyakumari have raised a banner of revolt against the use of purse seine nets by a section of fishers in the district saying the use of the banned fishnet would “destroy marine wealth including fingerlings”.

After venturing into the sea in two country boats – the first one occupied by the fishermen and the other one loaded with the purse seine nets – the fishermen, on reaching the spot for fishing, would release the net into the sea from the boat in the form of a large circle (apparently with 15 or 20 meter diameter).

While the boat with the fishermen would be stationed at a point, the craft with the purse seine would be moved slowly even as a fisherman would release the net into the sea. As the moving boat with fishnet would reach the starting point – i.e. near the stationary boat – the fishnet would have been released into the sea in the form of a circle. After a few minutes, the released net would be dragged back to the boat manually with the fishes entangled in it.

“Since this fishing practice is like scooping, it won’t even spare the fingerlings and hence the government banned this fishnet which is still being used by a few fishermen here. So we appeal to the district administration to strictly enforce the ban on using these nets,” says Antony, president of Marthandanthurai Fishermen Cooperative Society Limited.

Mr. Antony, who has forwarded a complaint to the Kanniyakumari District Collector in this connection, says fishermen from a few villages near Kollencode are using the banned purse seine net.

Endorsing the views of Mr. Antony, president of Vallavilai Fishermen Cooperative Society P. Arulanandan says a few fishermen from Neerodi, a coastal hamlet situated on the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border, were using the purse seine nets posing serious threat to the marine wealth. “More importantly, these banned nets pose a serious challenge to the livelihood of catamaran and shore-net fishermen. Hence, the officials should take appropriate action against the fishermen using the banned fishnets,” Mr. Arulanandan says.

However, fishermen using the purse seine nets defend their practice.

“The purse seine nets are like ‘mani valai’ (cast net) being used by the inland fishermen while fishing in the reservoirs. Venturing into the sea only in country boats, we don’t use bottom trawling nets as being used by the mechanized boats, which are being constructed nowadays in violation of the norms in length and hauled by engines with higher capacity up to 450 horse power while they are allowed to fit only engines with 120 HP capacity. We release and take back the purse seine nets manually and don’t use machines at any point during fishing. So we use the fishnets with larger ‘kanni’ (holes) that ensure the escaping of smaller fishes from the net,” says a fisherman using purse seine net, who does not want to be quoted.

Assistant Director of Fisheries Mohanraj promised that he would personally conduct inspections soon to check the use of purse seine nets and take appropriate action against the erring fishermen if they were found to be using the banned fishnets.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 8:00:41 PM |

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