Boat owners seek govt. intervention in licence renewal issue

The Fisheries department, which notified life span for fishing vessels of various makes about six months ago, has come under criticism from boat owners for the department move on renewing licences for 12-year-old wooden vessels, 15-year-old steel boats and 18 year-old fibre boats.

While the All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association, representing the non-traditional sector, in a submission before the State government alleged the norms were being stringently implemented in Ernakulam alone, Fisheries department sources said the norms were applicable to fishing vessels across Kerala. They said the norms were brought out to ensure the safety of fishers, who always faced constant threat to their lives because of weather and sea conditions.

Joseph Xavier Kalapurackal of the Boat Operators’Association alleged that the norms were being implemented only in Ernakulam and that the new norms had made marine fishing ventures almost impossible, plunging thousands of boat owners, most of them comprising ordinary fishers, into a struggle to earn a livelihood.

Mr. Kalappurackal also alleged that the Fisheries department did not have sufficient personnel to provide fitness certificates for sea-going vessels and also claimed that traditional fishing boats were being spared from the purview of fitness checks.

Fisheries department sources said the representation by boat owners was being considered with due seriousness but denied allegations of attempts to disrupt fishing operations or bias against any group of fishing operators.

Mr. Kalappurackal said it would be best to test the sea-worthiness of fishing vessels by competent personnel, who could be drawn from the Ports Department. This is is the easiest way to solve the problem, he added. He said most of the fishing boats under the department inspection were owned by groups of five to six ordinary fishers, who formed a group to earn a living out of their fishing ventures.

He said the marine fishing sector provided employment to about 1.5 million people in the State and earned about ₹40,000 crore annually.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 3:55:36 AM |

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