Kozhikode

Fishers in troubled waters again

Fishing boats anchored at the Puthiyappa harbour on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: K. RAGESH

Unfavourable weather conditions and the pandemic scare have once again driven fishermen into crisis.

Consequent to the mass return of migrant fishers and allied workers to their respective States following the COVID-19 spread, many small and medium boat owners from Kozhikode district are calling off deep sea fishing and exploring options to survive the lean period.

A situation akin to the trawl ban prevails at most harbours, with the number of anchored boats going up by the day. Fishermen from Puthiyappa and Beypore harbours said they were in deep crisis, and that they had no option but to cancel trips to save on fuel and labour expenses.

“The sea has been turbulent for weeks making survival tough for small and medium boat owners. Though a few ventured into the rough sea, the catch was poor. We fear that the situation may prevail for a few more weeks,” said Irfan Habeeb, a fisherman from Vellayil harbour. He pointed out that several jobless fishers had opted for construction work.

Fishermen from the Puthiyappa harbour said they were not even getting enough revenue to manage operational costs thanks to the fall in fisheries resources. They argued that at least ₹40,000 was required, including the fuel cost, to prepare a medium-size boat for a single trip. But the income generated is not even sufficient to meet the operational expenses.

“A majority of migrant fishers from Odisha and Maharashtra have already returned home in the wake of the alarming COVID-19 spread. Only trawler boats with better facilities will be able to survive the crisis,” said Karichal Preman, vice president, All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association.

He felt that the recurring accidents involving ships and fishing boats had deepened the sense of insecurity among fishers.

Feeling blue, leaders of fishermen’s associations have called upon the State government and the Fisheries Department to address joblessness in the sector and provide relief packages.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 7:34:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/fishers-in-troubled-waters-again/article34379508.ece

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