Andhra Pradesh

Fishermen hit by ice shortage as new season begins today

Ice being filled into a mechanised boat at the fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam on Monday.

Ice being filled into a mechanised boat at the fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam on Monday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

Only a few boats may go on short voyages

After a long gap, the fishing harbour here turned into a beehive of activity on Monday, a day before commencement of the new fishing season.

The fishermen anchored the boats from March 24 after the announcement of lockdown and later the annual fishing ban came into force from April 15. Taking into consideration the loss of livelihood suffered by them preceding the ban, the annual holiday to facilitate breeding has been reduced to 47 days. Instead of June 15, the ban ended on May 31.

The AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Welfare Association and the Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association informed the Fisheries Department that they would delay commencement of the new season by a day after holding Gangamma Jatara to express their obeisance to the Goddess of Water. June 2 falling on Tuesday is considered auspicious for the Goddess. It is a tradition among fishermen to offer turmeric water and coconuts during prayers seeking good harvest before going on a voyage.

The premature end of ban period has led to severe shortage of ice as the 20-odd plants are left with little time to prepare it. Further, they are short-staffed as many workers from Odisha had gone home due to COVID-19 lockdown. “We expect that the problem will be solved in a week or so,” D.V.R. Raju of the Visakha Ice Plant Owners’ Association told The Hindu.

Rationing

A sort of rationing has been done forcing only a few boats to load ice containers. As a result, only a few boat will venturing into the sea and that too for a voyage lasting one or two days.

“Out of 700-odd mechanised boats we are expecting 20-30% to undertake short voyages initially due to shortage of ice,” Joint Director of Fisheries K. Phaniprakash said.

In order to prevent crowding at the Zero Jetty, the venue of auction, alternative venues are being arranged in the harbour area. Police assistance has been sought to enforce social distancing at the auction venues and the vending place for retailers.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 5:38:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/fishermen-hit-by-ice-shortage-as-new-season-begins-today/article31726608.ece

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