KOCHI: The Marine Enforcement Wing under Fisheries Department on Friday evening and Saturday carried out a special drive against the use of banned pelagic nets at Munanbam. As part of the drive, two fishing boats were intercepted.A team coordinated by Marine Enforcement Wing Inspector K J Shibu Kumar conducted the drive. ‘St Sebastian’, a boat owned by O P George of Pallikottu here, was intercepted for using the banned pelagic net and slapped with a ` 1.43 lakh fine. The catch on board the boat was sold and the `27,000 was credited to the exchequer.
Similarly, ‘St Antony’ which was registered as ‘Marypriya’ owned by Louis of Pallipuram was intercepted by the officers for operating without a fishing licence and a fine of `23,000 was imposed. The catch worth `27,000 was sold and the amount credited to the exchequer.
“The pelagic nets had been banned by the government since the early 1980s. However, we received a tipoff on some of the boat owners still using it. Pelagic nets trap even juvenile fishes and pose a major threat to fish breeding. Recently, several cases relating to juvenile fishing in Kerala coast have been registered. The juvenile fishes are used in the production of cattle feed,” Shibu Kumar said. The Marine Enforcement Wing will continue the drive in the coming days to enforce the ban on pelagic nets in trawling boats.