ANDHRA PRADESH

Seine fishing proves a boon during ban

Fishermen using shore seines in the Bay of Bengal at Suryaraopeta in Kakinada rural. —PHOTO: BY ARRANGEMENT

Fishermen using shore seines in the Bay of Bengal at Suryaraopeta in Kakinada rural. —PHOTO: BY ARRANGEMENT  

Notwithstanding the 60-day fishing ban in the Bay of Bengal to pave the way for breeding of fish species, fishermen from Kakinada rural are venturing into the sea for fishing by using shore seines. As the ban is only on venturing into the sea by using mechanised boats for fishing, the fishermen have found an alternative in the form of shore seines and using the nets to catch fish on the stretch between Suryaraopeta and Uppada every day.

Fishermen from the vicinity are dividing into groups and sharing the sea for seining for fish. Though they claim that they catch only Mackerel (seasonal fish being used in the fish meal), there is no scope for the breeders to escape from the nets, as the shore seine goes as deeper as 30 to 40 metres into the sea from the coast.

“Species like monodon (tiger) are bottom feeders. A depth of 20 metres is enough for them to breed. There is every possibility of these species getting caught in the shore seines,” observes T. Rajyalakshmi, former director of the Central Institute of Brackish Water Aquaculture and president of the Society for Promotion of Integrated Coastal Areas Management (SPICAM).

“Even in the shore seines, the fishermen here are using the ones with small eyes. Which means, the fish can’t escape from the fishing net once it reaches near the shore,” she observes. Dr. Rajyalakshmi says there is an immediate need to implement complete ban on fishing to ensure protection of the breeders. “But, it is going to be tough to looking for an alternative for the fishermen eking out a living on the Mackerel,” she points out.

Up in arms

The mechanised boat owners, however, are up in arms about the use of shore seines. “What is the point in imposing ban on deep sea fishing, when the breeders are being caught in the shore seines? Being fishermen, we know that it is not possible to segregate the fish from the net,” says Dasari Satyanarayana, a fishermen from Subbammapeta hamlet, also the president of the Coastal Rights Protection Committee. “There is no other option but to bringing the shore seines into the framework of the ban. Otherwise, the existing ban doesn’t make any sense and it is not going to be of any use for the fishermen in the rest of the year,” he explains.

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