Mechanised boat operators to postpone fishing by one week

They fear spread of coronavirus and impact on exports

The Kakinada-based mechanised boat operators have decided to postpone resumption of fishing activity in deep sea fearing spreading of COVID-19 and inconvenience to export activity due to partial curfew restrictions. The 61-day annual fishing ban ends at midnight on June 14.

In East Godavari district, 450 mechanised boats are operating from the Kakinada fishing harbour engaging in deep-sea fishing that targets mainly tuna and prawns.

Kakinada Mechanised Boat Operators Welfare Association former president Pamadi Maatharaju told The Hindu, “We have decided to postpone the fishing activity till June 22. Nearly 6,700 crew operating the 450 mechanised boats will be at the risk of being infected with the coronavirus. Postponement of the fishing by one week will minimise the risk.”

“The chances of spread of virus among the crew are high as several of them hail from the coastal belt in the district, which is still in the grip of the COVID-19. The boat operators are also fearing adverse impact on export activities in the wake of partial curfew,” added Mr. Maatharaju.

The fish from the Kakinada harbour is exported mainly to Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu from where it would be exported to foreign destinations in Asia.

Joint Director (Fisheries) P.V. Satyanarayana told The Hindu, “We have assured the marine fish exporters and mechanised boat operators that they will be given special permissions for the transport irrespective of the partial curfew restrictions. However, the operators choose to wait.”

Fibre boat operators

Meanwhile, the operators of 5,100 small and fibre boat operators have been prepared to resume fishing from the midnight of June 14 or on June 15 from the 30 points in the district.

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