Goa looks to shore up fall in catch as fishing ban looms

May 30, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:25 am IST - Panaji

Mechanised trawlers to be banned from June 1 to July 31

Beating retreat:Fishermen haul back their nets from mechanised trawlers at Malim Jetty in Betim in Goa on Monday.Atish Pomburfeker

Beating retreat:Fishermen haul back their nets from mechanised trawlers at Malim Jetty in Betim in Goa on Monday.Atish Pomburfeker

As Goa gears up for its annual 61-day monsoon fishing ban, authorities are trying to shore up the fall in catch witnessed last year. Fishing by mechanised trawlers will be banned from June 1 to July 31 in the State.

According to the State Fisheries Department, fish production in 2015-16 was 96,189 tonnes, a 15% drop from the 1.14 lakh tonnes in 2014-15. In contrast, the catch across the counry rose by 6.6% in 2016, with Gujarat claiming the top spot for the fourth consecutive year.

Data released by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute show that marine fish landings reached 3.63 million tonnes and the value of marine fish landings at the landing centre level was estimated at Rs. 48,381 crore, registering a 20.67% rise. At the retail level, the value was Rs. 73,289 crore, an increase of 12.44%. States that witnessed a surge in fish landings included Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Daman & Diu.

Researchers from the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography, the premier ocean research institute, have said factors afftecting marine fish catch include climate change and increase in sea surface temperature and mean sea level. While marine fish catch is on the decline, fish production in non-marine waters in Goa rose by 19%. Figures released by the State Fisheries Department showed that non-marine fish catch incerased from 3,723 tonnes to 4,417 tonnes.

Rampant fishing

The reasons for the decline in marine fish catch is attributed to rampant fishing by big vessels. Goa’s famous mackerel fish catch was down by almost 50% from around 23,000 tonnes in 2011-12 to 11,000 tonnes in 2015-16, according to data released recently by the Fisheries Ministry in the State Legislative Assembly.

Goa Fisheries Minister Vinod Palyekar recently called on Union Minister for Fisheries Radha Mohan Singh in New Delhi and asked for Central assistance to develop fisheries infrastructure in Goa. “My focus would be on developing infrastructure for fisheries and acquaculture fish production in the State,” Mr. Palyekar said on Monday.

He said he had urged the Union Minister to direct all States involved in fishing to enforce bans on LED fishing and bull trawling. In Goa, the government has banned these activities within territorial waters. He said the Union government would be issuing advisory to States.

Mr. Palyekar said he is pursuing with the Centre a proposal for the expansion of the four fish landing centres in Goa under the establishment of fishing harbour and fish landing centres of the Centrally sponsored scheme on development of marine fisheries infrastructure and post harbour operation.

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