Concern over flight of fishing boats unfounded, say boat owners

Concern over the possible flight of fishing boats from the Thoppumpady fisheries harbour, mostly manned by fishers from Tamil Nadu from centres like Thengapattanam, Thuthoor, Nagapattanam and Rameshwaram, is unfounded, say All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators' Association.

Joseph Xavier Kalapurackal of the Association said that the there had been a temporary disruption in operations as many of the fishers from Tamil Nadu gone back to their homes to celebrate occasions like August 15, which is considered a major holiday for the fishers from the coastal area. He also said that the Tamil Nadu government offered substantial subsidy on diesel price, which had attracted the fishers to harbours like Thengapattanam. However, most of the fishing operations took place off the coast of Kerala and Karnataka, which would continue to attract the fishing boats to Kochi.

However, he felt that the impersonalisation of the harbours like Thengapattanam, about 10 kms away from the Kerala border into Tamil Nadu, could draw fishing boats to that harbour in the long run.

M. Majeed of All Indian Deep Sea Fishers' Association also opined that there was no flight of fishing vessels from Kochi. He said COVID-19 restrictions and weather warnings had kept some of the boats away from the Kochi harbour. This, however was not a permanent feature as the rainy season is ending and fishing operations are expected to get into full swing.

There are around 700 longline boats operating out of the Kochi harbour while there are around 120 trawl boats and about 75 purseine boats based at the harbour. Most of these boats are operated by fishers from the neighbouring States.

A fishing boat operator based in Kochi said that there was a fall in the number of fishing boats calling at the Kochi harbour but that was a temporary phenomenon and the situation would be normalised soon. But he pointed out that the strict COVID-19 restrictions as well as high labour cost were factors that could dissuade the boats operated by fishers from outside Kerala calling at the harbour.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 8:39:00 AM |

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