Staff shortage hits patrolling to check juvenile fishing

Routine inspections, drive against rash fish hunters affected

May 18, 2017 09:02 am | Updated 09:02 am IST - Kozhikode

Sea patrolling by the Fisheries Department to check juvenile fish hunting is hindered by the shortage of manpower in the marine enforcement wing. The wing that initially had 11 policemen under a Circle Inspector is now down to four policemen. This has affected routine inspections as well as the special drive recently launched against the rash fish hunters who defy the Minimum Legal Size (MLS) norms.

“The juvenile fish hunters have emerged as a very powerful gang and the Fisheries Department will not be able to fight them alone without the support of local police,” said Mariam Haseena, Deputy Director of Fisheries Department.

The district administration and the police would be able to make a positive intervention in the sector and address the crisis, she said.

Activity rampant

Officials said the hunting of juvenile fish had been rampant off the Kozhikode coast for several years to support the ventures of various private fertilizer companies outside the State.

On several occasions, the enforcement squads had acted tough on them and impounded their boats, but the illegal practice was yet to show any signs of decline with the declining patrol, they pointed out.

A Fisheries Department officer, who was recently part of a marine enforcement drive, said that some fishers who collude with private fertilizer companies were trying to inciting their community members against the department. He said the officers were concerned of their personal safety, which also contributed to the thinning of the squad.

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