Marine Enforcement squads to crack down on use of banned pelagic nets off Kozhikode coast

Noticing suspicious attempts on the part of some fishing boat operators to use banned pelagic nets, the Marine Enforcement squads have resumed surprise inspections in fishing boats off the Kozhikode coast.

Though the illegal practice was not reported for several months, the depletion of fisheries resources and the fall in active fishing days were reportedly prompting many workers to resort to it.

Officials with the Marine Enforcement squad said they had seized such stocks from a fishing boat in Beypore. The owner of the boat has been charged under the Kerala Marine Fishing Regulation Act. There would be flash inspections covering various harbours to discourage the practice and to make fishermen aware of the danger it poses to fisheries resources, they added.

The use of pelagic net is banned as it catches juvenile fish and affects its breeding. Such nets used in trawling boats are often difficult to be detected as it is stored with the regular nets. The fish waste collected is usually sold to fertiliser manufacturing companies for additional revenue.

According to local fishers, it is the larger trawler boat owners who purchase and use the banned types of nets. They alleged that there were boats that engaged in paired trawling using pelagic nets, resulting in the destruction of juvenile fish. As the presence of enforcement squads was minimal in the deep sea region, many non-Kerala boats were flourishing in the business, they said.

Besides the use of banned nets, the practice of using coconut flower stalks and high beam lights to attract fish the artificial way is also reportedly staging a comeback off the Kozhikode coast. There have been incidents in which fishing boats that used high-beam lights were impounded and hefty fines imposed on their owners.

Owners of smaller fishing boats from Puthiyappa and Beypore said regular inspection around harbours could help net the illegal players in the field. According to them, the local fishers were against the illegal fishing method as it endangered their trade. There should be more patrol squads to inspect trawlers that usually left the coast during midnight, they said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 9:01:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/marine-enforcement-squads-to-crack-down-on-use-of-banned-pelagic-nets-off-kozhikode-coast/article36305001.ece

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