The annual monsoon trawling ban in Kerala will come into effect from June 14 midnight, restricting the operation of mechanised trawlers in the territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles from the coast.
The 47-day ban will end on July 31, Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma said after a meeting with officials in the department and leaders of various trade unions in the fisheries sector.
The seasonal fishing holiday in Kerala was introduced in 1988 to give commercially important fish species a respite during their spawning season and facilitate replenishment of stocks. The ban is not applicable to traditional fishermen operating motorised country boats.
This year, however, the period coincides with the 61-day trawl ban imposed by the Central government on all fishing vessels in the Exclusive Economic Zone from 12 to 200 nautical miles. The ban from June 1 to July 31 was announced last year as a strategy for conservation and management of fisheries resources.
The Minister said the government had directed the Marine Enforcement and Coast Guard to strictly enforce the trawl ban. District Collectors have been directed to convene meetings for the purpose.
17 rescue boats
As many as 17 rescue boats had been deployed at different places along the coast. The rescue services can be availed by dialling the toll free numbers 1554 and 1093. The rescue vessels will be colour coded.
The Minister said an order had been placed with the Cochin Shipyard for the construction of a marine ambulance. Moves were on to appoint skilled fishermen as life guards. She added that the government would enact legislation to ban juvenile fishing.
Fisheries Director S. Karthikeyan and District Collectors Mitra T., N. Veena, and U.V. Jose participated in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation has hailed the 62-day trawl ban imposed by the Centre in the EEZ. A press note quoting KSMTF president P.P. John and general secretary Jackson Pollayil said there was a possibility of tension at sea as the Navy and Coast Guard started enforcing the trawl ban in the area beyond the 12-nautical miles limit.
“Unless the Marine Enforcement and Coastal Police remain vigilant, mechanised boats will turn to the near-shore areas, risking conflict with traditional fishermen,” they said.