61-day fishing ban starts today in coastal districts

The 61-day annual deep sea fishing ban will come into effect in the coastal districts on June 1.

The main objective of banning deep sea fishing during June and July is to protect fish wealth as commercially important species breed during this period. It is to prevent juveniles fishing and excessive fishing.

Accordingly, mechanised boats and traditional boats fitted with inboard or outboard engines of 10 HP and above are banned from carrying out fishing activities till July 31. However, fishing boats fitted with engines of up to 10 HP will be allowed to carry out fishing during the period.

Last year, the government had reduced the deep sea fishing ban period in the coastal districts from the usual 61 days to 47 days effective from June 15 to July 31. It was in view of hardship faced by fishermen due to the lockdown and COVID-19 situation. Hence, fishermen had been given an extra fortnight to carry out deep sea fishing.

Mangaluru Trawl Boat Owners Association president Nitin Kumar told The Hindu that like other sectors, fisheries too has been hit hard due to COVID-19 and lockdown.

Deep sea fishing activities in the State came to a halt for three months, from June to August, last year. Though fishing resumed in September, it had to be abandoned for a few days after September 15 due to cyclone. Though fishing resumed in late October, catch was meagre.

“It was not even 50% of the usual catch,” he said. Many of the 800 to 900 trawl boats (that are involved in deep sea fishing beyond 15 km-20 km from the coast) in Mangaluru did not sail out for fishing due to hike in diesel prices, meagre catch and labour issue. It was same in the case of Purseine boats that sail out for fishing up to 15 km-20 km.

“Only about 50 trawl boats were sailing out in Mangaluru after November,” Mr. Kumar, who is also the chairman of Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation (KFDC), said and added that about 25 Purseine boats were carrying out fishing in shallow waters.

Mr. Kumar said that when the second lockdown began in late April, many of the labourers from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu left the city.

The fisheries sector is gasping for breath ever since COVID-19 started, he said.

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