KARNATAKA

Deep-sea fishing season begins on weak note

large haul: The fishing harbour in Mangalore witnessed brisk activity on Wednesday as traditional fishermen with small boats brought a large quantity of prawns . — Photo: R. Eswarraj

large haul: The fishing harbour in Mangalore witnessed brisk activity on Wednesday as traditional fishermen with small boats brought a large quantity of prawns . — Photo: R. Eswarraj  

Fishermen not expecting a good harvest at least in the initial days

As another season of deep-sea fishing began on Wednesday, fishermen at the Old Mangalore Port were less than excited. Those venturing into the sea on trawl boats said they were not expecting a good harvest at least in the initial days of the season.

Deep-sea fishing is banned along the west coast for 57 days from June 15 in order to allow fish breeding. Though fishermen are allowed to venture into deep sea in the first week of August they are not allowed to return with the catch before August 11.

Most of the trawl boats that had left from here on August 2 or 3 have not returned yet, apparently in view of poor catch. Some of those that arrived on Wednesday morning brought bad news to fishermen.

Chandrasekharan K., a fisherman, declared, “There are no fish this time.” The mood in his trawl boat onto which ice was being loaded for a 10-day fishing voyage was not that of excitement. His colleagues said they were not expecting much from fishing this season. They hoped things would change for better.

Officials of the Department of Fisheries, however, said there was no need for fishermen to be worried as experiences in the initial days of the season could hardly indicate as to what would happen in the future.

Statistics

Statistics furnished by the officials showed that both the quantity of fish caught and the value it fetched in the last financial year had increased when compared to the previous year.

Fish catch had gone up from 86,788 tonnes during 2008-09 to 90,345 tonnes during 2009-10 in Dakshina Kannada. The value the catch fetched had gone up from Rs. 400.04 crore during 2008-09 to Rs. 407.36 crore during 2009-10.

In Udupi district, fish catch during 2008-09 was 98,217 tonnes (value Rs. 324.3 crore) while during 2009-10 it went up to 99,422 tonnes (it fetched Rs. 357.23 crore).

Brisk activity

The fishing harbour, however, witnessed brisk activity on Wednesday as traditional fishermen with small boats, who are allowed to fish in shallow waters even during the deep-sea fishing ban period, brought a large quantity of prawns.

Several boats from Malpe, Kundapur, Uppula and other surrounding areas arrived at the port with prawns of two varieties that are locally known as “tambel” and “white”, and started preparing for auction.

Sudhir Bangera, a fisherman, said nearly 150 traditional boats arrived at the fishing harbour on Thursday. While “white” prawns were sold for Rs. 250 a kg, “tambel” was sold for Rs. 82 to Rs. 85 a kg.



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