Local fishermen resent fencing in water bodies

Erection of bamboo fence and net enclosures in the middle of Guptigiri river and nearby creeks by fish merchants with help of local influential persons has triggered widespread resentment among people in the coastal pockets of Mahakalapada block. The illegal fencing has blocked movements of boats in the water

Published: 19th December 2017 05:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th December 2017 07:04 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KENDRAPARA: Erection of bamboo fence and net enclosures in the middle of Guptigiri river and nearby creeks by fish merchants with help of local influential persons has triggered widespread resentment among people in the coastal pockets of Mahakalapada block. The illegal fencing has blocked movements of boats in the water bodies, thereby affecting the livelihood of traditional fishermen in the region.

A large number of fishermen and locals are up in arms against the people who have illegally erected the enclosures in the river. Subash Swain of Mahakalapada said it is illegal to fish in rivers by blocking the flow of water. “Recently, we had approached Mahakalapada Tehsildar to dismantle the illegal bamboo barricades in Guptigiri. However, the official did not pay heed to our request,” he alleged.
Sources said the illegal bamboo and net enclosures has affected more than 20,000 fishermen of 40 villages. Sukadev Behera, a traditional fisherman of Mangalapur village, said, “We have been eking out a living by fishing and transporting goods on boats in Guptigiri. However, some influential fish traders have obstructed the waterway by bamboo enclosures at 25 places as a result of which our livelihood is in a jeopardy.”

Besides, these illegal enclosures block the migratory routes of many fish species. The river and its nearby creeks are the breeding grounds of these species. The water flow plays a vital role in influencing bio-diversity of water bodies. Distribution of flora and fauna is greatly affected by blocking waterways, said Maheswar Jena of Petachela.

On the other hand, some persons have voiced their support for bamboo fences. “For the last 10 years, I have been earning my livelihood by fishing in Guptigiri through bamboo fences. It is an easy way to catch fish by spending less money. The Fishery department should give us permission in some areas of the river for fishing through bamboo enclosures,” said Malaya Mandal of Barakandha village.

Tehsildar of Mahakalapada block Nilamadhaba Bhoi said it is illegal to fence waterways by erecting bamboo barricades for fishing or any other purposes. “We will dismantle all the illegal bamboo enclosures soon and take action against the persons who are putting up such fences for fishing,” he added.

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