TAMIL NADU

“Do not use purse seine nets”

Staff Reporter

Conflicting opinions from fishermen on use of these nets in Tirunelveli

TIRUNELVELI: Even as most of the fishermen are in favour of using the banned purse seine nets as it has improved the living standards of the fisherfolk in coastal hamlets of the district without affecting fishing operations of the mechanised boats, a meeting held here on Thursday to discuss this issue decided to suspend the use of the net until the government takes a final decision in this regard.

Speaking at the meeting, Uvari panchayat president S.V. Antony said the coastal hamlets witnessed frequent clashes between the fishermen of mechanised boats and country boats as the fish nets of the latter spread in the high seas suffered extensive damage.

Some of the accidents even led to loss of life as the mechanised boats, by mistake or under the absolute darkness collided with the smaller fish craft.

“When purse seine nets, similar to the ‘manivalai’ being used in tanks and dams, were introduced, the country boat fishermen, who had to venture into the sea for more than 15 km earlier, could restrain their operations within 3 km to 4 km from the shore, but managed to get good catches though this practise,” he said.

He suggested that the fishermen using purse seine nets could be asked to venture into the sea during a particular time and sell their catches after the gill net fishermen sold their fishes, as the gill net could cause some damage to the fishes while the catches in the purse seine nets would be fresh.

When the officials complained that the holes in the purse seine nets were as small as 10 mm, Mr. Antony and Raymond, also from Uvari, disproved it immediately by showing a piece of the net and other types to the Collector G. Prakash, who presided over the meeting.

“Holes in the purse seine nets are more than 18 mm and hence banning the use of this net is totally unwarranted,” Mr. Raymond said.

Jones of Kottappanai, Innaci of Koottapuli, Jeremiah of Kooththankuzhi, Roy of Uvari, all supported the use of purse seine nets, appealed to the Collector to fix a schedule for fishing with this net and selling it through the fishermen cooperative society.

“This net is being used in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Thiruvallur districts even now and hence the State Government should allow Tirunelveli district fishermen also to use it,” Mr. Jeremiah said.

Fishermen, who were opposed to the use of purse seine nets, and Assistant Director of Fisheries, Issac, complained that the net was wiping out the marine wealth and that an earlier court order too had banned the use of this net.

Appeal

Mr. Prakash said the sentiments of the fishermen would be forwarded to the government for final orders.

“Till the final order is pronounced, I appeal to the fishermen not to use purse seine nets and ensure peaceful law and order situation in coastal areas,” the Collector noted.

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