Fishers worried over inclusion of Kollam Parappu in shipping route

Stephen, a 60-year-old fisher and crew member of Yeshuvinte Danam, has been making regular trips to Kollam Parappu (Quilon bank), one of the richest fishing grounds in the southwest coast, for over four decades. But in compliance with the new routeing system announced by the Ministry of Shipping, the area will be technically off-limits to him from August 1 as the new shipping corridor claims a good portion of it. The decision was taken to introduce a safer marine traffic system. But it also denies a huge fleet of fishing boats access to the most productive strip off the Kerala coast.

“A large number of boats from Kerala and Tamil Nadu operate in this part. Kollam has the maximum number of boats in both traditional and mechanised sector since it offers a good and steady catch. We have been opposing the shipping corridor from day one,” he says.

Off the Kollam coast where the continental shelf is wider than other parts of the State, Quilon bank also sees considerable number of merchant vessels.

“Accidents happen in several parts but it is no reason to take away an important fishing hub for the passage of ships. Ideally the State should push the corridor beyond fishing grounds known as banks. Trade unions and other stakeholders will take up the matter with Fisheries Minister J. Mercykuttty Amma on July 30,” says Kollam district Matsya Thozhilali Union president H. Basil Lal. At present trawlers, gill net boats, deep sea boats with long lines and fishers who use hook and line are operating in Quilon bank. Peter Mathias, president, All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association says declaring it a shipping corridor is an attempt to help the corporate shipping sector. “The corridor is several nautical miles wide and it precisely cuts through the bank, one of the busiest points in the west coast. It means entering the stretch will be a high-risk affair and ships will not be responsible for any accidents that occur there. There are such banks near Vizhinjam and Ponnani, but the one off Kollam coast is the most bountiful one. Evicting the fishers from there and making them refugees are not the solution and we want the government to change this unilateral decision,” he adds.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 9:42:56 AM |

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