Mechanised fishing sector to rid plastic from the sea

July 03, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:16 am IST - KOLLAM

Plastic to be brought to shore and disposed

One of the welcome aspects of the conclusion of this year’s 47-day-long monsoon time trawling ban period on July 31 will be the commencement of an eco-friendly exercise by the mechanised fishing sector in Kollam.

The Kollam District Fishing Boat Operators Association will have a two-pronged purpose behind trawling for that. While one will be for the traditional purpose of fishing marine wealth, the other will be to contribute towards getting rid of the plastic waste that has accumulated in the sea.

Minister for Fisheries J. Mercykutty Amma has welcomed the move and has assured the boat operators that she will initiate steps to get the Suchitwa Mission too linked to it. The boat owners will be inviting Ms. Mercykutty Amma to launch the programme formally.

Such a decision is being tagged as the first of its kind in the country to be undertaken by a group connected with marine fishing. The association expects the move to act as a model not only for the State but even the country and beyond.

The practice hitherto during fishing operation had been to dump back into the sea whatever plastic materials that get entangled in the nets. But from now on, all Kollam based mechanised fishing boats will reserve a portion in their boats to store whatever plastic that comes up from the sea through their nets.

Association president Charley Joseph and general secretary Peter Mathias told The Hindu that such plastic will be brought to the shore and disposed of in accordance with eco friendly practices. In this manner the association aims at making the Kollam waters completely plastic free within a year.

This aim will be complemented with a decision not to dump plastic materials into the sea while boats are on fishing expeditions. While out at sea, the boat crew simply dumps plastic materials like water bottles and milk covers into the sea.

Mr. Peter said that the crew will henceforth be instructed to bring back such materials and dispose of them at the shore. The decision was taken in view of the fact that plastic waste was choking the seas and annihilating marine life, said Aloysius Yohanan, vice president of the association.

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