The marine enforcement squad under the Fisheries department has intensified patrol along the Kozhikode-Vadakara coastline, noticing increasing attempts by a section of local fishers to employ illegal Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) to catch cuttlefish. Enforcement squad members say coconut flower stacks, plastic bottles and sand bags are mostly used for FADs to hunt the fish variety violating all norms.
“We seized three boats recently from Koyilandy which were loaded with FAD materials for illegal fishing. Action was taken under the Kerala Marine Fishing Regulation Act against the fishers and boat owners,” says an official. He says that legal action will continue against the method of using non-degradable materials that causes huge pollution threat apart from challenging the marine ecosystem.
According to Fisheries department officials, the crude form of FAD created in the sea is attracting cuttlefish in large numbers to lay eggs, and get trapped by fishers. Many are reportedly venturing into this illegal activity which will have to be exposed for the proper conservation of our fisheries resources, they point out.
The squad members led by Inspector Shanmukhan have been asked to impound all such illegal fishing boats and submit details of the owners to cancel their licence. Special patrol boats have been arranged for the squad to conduct flash inspections with the support of the coastal police and sea rescue guards.
For over six months, the crackdown against catching of juvenile fish has been continuing in the district following instructions from the Fisheries department. The drive, which resulted in the impounding of more than 10 boats reportedly engaged in the illegal fishing activity violating the Minimum Legal Size (MLS) norms, is mainly focussing on Beypore and Puthiyappa harbours.