Andhra Pradesh

Fishermen continue to face troubled waters

Gloomy future: Mechanised boats lying idle at the fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

There seems to be no end to the woes faced by the fishermen ever since the annual 61-day long fishing ban ended on June 15.

One problem after another is haunting them as they resumed fishing on June 27, only after an assurance by the government to enhance diesel subsidy in response to their State-wide strike.

Immediately after that, they had faced threat from China-made speed engines used by some of their brethren leaving them negligible catch. The speed boats used to collect the fish during a short time as they are able to travel fast due to installation of engines with higher horse power. The government recently issued an order denying permission to boats using engines with horse power exceeding permissible limits.

Now of the 700 mechanised boats being operated from Visakhapatnam Fishing Harbour, only 20% to 30% are venturing into the sea due to fall in demand for fish. The fish supply to Tamil Nadu came down drastically following death of DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi. Moreover, the recent floods in Kerala dealt a big blow to fishermen of Visakhapatnam who used to supply a large quantity to that State.

Pink brown prawn which used to fetch them ₹450 per kg is now being sold at ₹340. A lion’s share of income of boat operators is met from this. The tiger prawn catch has turned very rare, which is priced at ₹1,100 a kg. Mackerel, Gulivendulu and other miscellaneous fish are sold in the local market.

For a voyage of 15 to 18 days, the boat operators spend nearly ₹3 lakh on diesel. The fuel subsidy by the State Government up to 3,000 litres per boat is not given to the vessels registered after the Ninth Plan.

“We are not able to meet our operational cost as the fish demand in the outside market has nosedived,” Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association president Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy told The Hindu.

He said due to some rumours, fish supply to the northeast was affected earlier. “Now the unprecedented floods in Kerala have hit us hard,” remarked AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Welfare Association president P. Ch. Appa Rao.

Fishermen are not affected by the current spell of inclement weather. Only when there are squally winds, they are advised not to venture into sea.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:10:43 AM |

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