KARNATAKA

Monsoon fishing ban comes into force in three coastal districts



Special Correspondent

The 57-day ban has been imposed to protect the interests of fishermen

Mechanised fishing has been banned between June 15 and August 10 in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi In Uttara Kananda district, the ban will be in force from June 15 to July 29 Traditional boats can undertake coastal fishing expeditions during the ban period

MANGALORE: The official monsoon fishing ban is in force from Thursday in the three coastal districts of the State.

According to the Coastal Fishing Act, 1986, mechanised fishing between June 15 and August 10 must be banned in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. The 57-day ban has been imposed to protect the interests of fishermen. The order from the Government stated that the ban has been issued taking into consideration the condition of the seas during this season. However, deep-sea trawlers, which can go to the sea from August 3, should return only at closing hours of August 10 in accordance with the ban period. In Uttara Kananda district, the ban will be in force for 45 days (from June 15 to July 29).

The order has clarified that traditional boats, with or without outboard engines up to 25 HP, can undertake coastal fishing expeditions during the ban period. The order warned that those who violate the ban order will have to forfeit their share of subsidised diesel for a year and will be punished under the provisions of the Act.

Following the ban order, fishermen have started hauling their trawlers, long-liners and other mechanised vessels to the shore and have parked them in the fishing ports. Covers made out of coconut leaves are being used to protect the boats from the rain.

For many fishermen the season had closed in April itself, as they had exhausted their quota of subsidised diesel.

Last year, the Government released only 55,000 kilolitres of subsidised diesel. According to some fishermen, deep sea fishermen cannot make profits by taking up fishing expeditions without subsidised diesel. Many have suffered losses as the catch has not been good. Fishermen leader Loknath Bolar told The Hindu that it was unjust on the part of the Government to impose a 57-day ban when the Kerala Government had imposed a ban only for 45 days. Mr. Bolar who had been invited by the Union Government's fishing regulatory body meeting in Kochi last week, said the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) had recommended that all mechanised fishing from 10 HP up 16 HP be banned for at least 45 days during the monsoon based on scientific reasons.

Mr. Bolar said the fishing ban in the State was not based on a scientific study as the State had banned fishermen from fishing during the monsoon but had allowed foreign vessels to fish in the Indian coast. He said fishermen were unhappy that there was no uniformity in the ban. Fishermen were in favour of a uniform ban in the entire west coast for not more than 45 days, he added.