With the annual trawling ban ending on Sunday night, the Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation has called for urgent measures to tackle the destructive practice of ‘pair trawling’.
Traditional fishers are worried that large trawlers are likely to employ 'pair trawling' to harvest juvenile fish that are now seen in abundance in the sea, State president Jackson Pollayil said.
Patrolling should be strengthened at harbours and at sea to impound nets used for this practice which spells doom for several fish species, he said. The practice, which uses two boats and a big net to sweep the sea, traps huge quantities of young pelagic fish, according to the federation.
After a long gap, schools of young mackerel, sardine, and other fishes are being reported in the sea. But once the trawlers are out after the ban, they are likely to catch them using banned nets, which could impact the livelihood of traditional fishers, Mr. Pollayil alleged.
Unless steps are taken, the federation will be forced to launch agitations including blockading trawlers at sea, the federation said in a statement.
The federation has urged the government to extend the trawling ban to 90 days from next year onwards and not to issue fresh licences to fishing vessels.