Declining catches leave smaller boats with scanty earnings

​Hit by a steep decline in fisheries resources, smaller boats engaged in fishing have started withdrawing from regular fishing activities off the Kozhikode coast.

Though many had hoped to get a decent return with the introduction of the trawling ban and subsequent halting of operations by larger boats, the unexpected decline in the daily catch has come as a rude shock to them.

According to fishermen’s organisations, the hike in the price of fish in the open market has not fetched them any benefits. The COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent regulations had stalled the sector and job opportunities in the allied sectors, they claimed. ​

In Chombala harbour, only a few smaller boats are now engaged in daily fishing. Of the 300 smaller boats in Chombala harbour, only fewer than 100 are now going into the sea, and that too, on alternate days.​

The case is not any different in other fish landing centres and harbours such as Beypore and Puthiyappa. The workers in smaller boats are now in search of other odd jobs to survive the lean season. Their families continue the wait for various government relief measures for alleviating the financial crisis.​

The worst-affected by the decline in fishing activities are the workers in the allied sector. Many ice factories operating along the coastal areas have shut down with the fall in their daily sales. The same is the case with small-scale processing units in the coastal areas. Women who worked with such smaller units are now in search of other jobs in their neighbourhood.​

Leaders of various fishermen organisations have called upon the State government to speed up the release of welfare funds to support the struggling families. They pointed out that the starting of online lessons and the shortage of required learning tools had placed an additional burden upon many underprivileged fishermen families. ​​

Irfan, leader of one of the fishermen associations, said they were in such a bad situation that funds had to be sourced from various charity organisations and individuals to buy television sets for poor fishermen families. “There are many such families which are in need of support in many ways to survive this lean season,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 2:35:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/declining-catches-leave-smaller-boats-with-scanty-earnings/article31892907.ece

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