Fisheries Dept to step up vigil along Goa coast

March 21, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:42 am IST - PANAJI:

The department will work with the coastal police to ensure that the use of LED lightsand Fish-Light Attractors are banned up to 12 nautical miles

The State Fisheries Department will conduct night patrolling along the Goa coast with the help of coastal police to ensure that the use of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights and Fish-Light Attractors (FLAs) are banned in the State, up to 12 nautical miles.

The issue was raised in the State Legislative Assembly during the brief budget session, which ended last week, by Independent MLA Vijai Sardesai, saying the use of these methods by fishermen had led to a fear of fish famine in the State.

“Goa was once looked upon as an exporter of fish, but it is slowly becoming an importer of fish. With FLAs and LED use, the situation will worsen, leading to fish famine,” he warned.

Pointing out that the Kerala government had banned the use of LEDs on trawlers, Mr Sardesai demanded that the Goa government too introduce a similar law.

Minister for Fisheries Avertano Furtado reiterated his assurance in the State Assembly and told The Hindu that his department, together with the coastal police, would conduct night patrolling along the Goa coast to keep a strong vigil on such illegal activities. Fishermen in Goa fear that the fishing industry will shut down if boats are not prevented from using FLAs and LED.

Traditional fishermen and small boat owners say that the fishing industry will die out completely within two years if purse seine fishing boats are allowed to use LED lights.

Goa Ramponkarancho Ekvott (GRE), the body representing traditional fishermen, has also been opposing these methods of fishing, saying they would prove to be dangerous as the fish breed will reduce.

In fact, soon, traditional fishermen plan to petition the Centre to intervene and demand a ban on such methods of fishing across the country as not just Goan fishermen but others along the west coast of India also indulge in LED light fishing method, said a spokesperson of GRE, which is an affiliate of National Fishworkers’ Forum.

The fishermen want the State government to undertake a study of this method by engaging agencies, including the National Institute of Oceanography and Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Goa has over 1,000 trawlers, of which around 300 are purse seine fishing boats. Of these purse seine boats, currently, about 60 boats have installed LED lights for fishing, said sources in the State Fisheries.

Goa was once looked upon as an exporter of fish, but it is slowly becoming an importer of fish

Vijai Sardesai


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