Andhra Pradesh

Fishermen to begin new season amid high hopes tomorrow

Raring to go: The cost of ice has gone up from ₹1,300 to ₹1,400 per tonne. Each mechanised boat needs 15 to 20 tonnes ice for a voyage of 10 to 15 days

Raring to go: The cost of ice has gone up from ₹1,300 to ₹1,400 per tonne. Each mechanised boat needs 15 to 20 tonnes ice for a voyage of 10 to 15 days   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

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Around 200 boats expected to go for fishing in the first phase in Vizag

Fishermen are raring to go after the extended ban period as they have begin hectic preparations to venture into the sea with showers of hope from June 27.

Severe ice shortage is being witnessed as the mechanised boat operators have started piling up stock. Around 200 out of 700 mechanised boats from Visakhapatnam, the largest fishing harbour in the State, will go for fishing in the first phase.

Summer showers

The cost of ice has gone up from ₹1,300 to ₹1,400 per tonne. The city has about 15 ice factories and each mechanised boat needs 15 to 20 tonnes ice for a voyage of 10 to 15 days. Good amount of summer showers have raised the expectation of fishermen on possibility of bountiful catch post-ban.

“We had good amount of summer showers though the monsoon has remained weak. Dull season post-Hudhud notwithstanding, we are hopeful of good returns due to 74-day gap in fishing by motorised boats this year,” Dolphin Mechanised Boat Operators’ Association president Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy told The Hindu on Monday.

Preparations are going on in full swing for resumption of new fishing season at Kakinada, Bhairavapalem, Machilipatnam and Nizampatnam, the main centres for mechanised boats.

Though the annual conservation period, popularly called ban period, observed in the entire East Coast by motorised boats for 61 days expired on June 14, none of the operator undertook voyage from June 15 in protest against steep increase in diesel price.

The State government gives a subsidy of ₹6.03 per litre up to 3,000 litres for those registered up to March 31, 2002. This was last revised when diesel per litre price was ₹36. In response to their indefinite strike, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu promised them to increase annual allocation for subsidy to ₹85 crore so as to enhance diesel subsidy from ₹6.03 to ₹12.93 per litre. As part of tradition, fishermen offer their prayers for a good catch to Goddess of sea Gangamma on Tuesday. A day after the Gangamma Jatara, motorised boats from across the State will go on voyage.

‘Payment issue resolved’

The agitation by the khalasis and drivers demanding increase in payment to them has been resolved.

There are about 5,000 khalasis and drivers who are paid part of the catch by the boat owners as part of a tradition.

The earlier practice was allowing them to take price of 10% of catch, retain 80% cheap fish converted into dry fish during voyage and take away deck fish, which includes hill fish, crab, squid, scampi and lobster. “Following talks, they agreed to give us 50% of deck fish instead of 20% after we explained about high cost of operations,” B. Bhaskar Rao, a boat owner said.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 11:14:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/fishermen-to-begin-new-season-amid-high-hopes-tomorrow/article24256942.ece

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