KENDRAPARA: Resentment is brewing among owners of trawlers and big mechanised vessels over the Fisheries department’s decision to allow small boats to fish in sea during the two-month ban period. Boats, which are less than 8.5 metre in length, will be allowed to venture into the sea during the fishing ban period from April 15 to June 14 which is the breeding season for fish. The ban aims at conserving fish species during the monsoon which is the spawning season for many varieties of fish, including shrimps. President of Odisha Marine Fish Producers’ Association (OMFPA) Srikant Parida said, “It is illegal on the part of administration to allow small boat owners to fish during the ban period.
The ban will not serve its purpose as these small boats catch a huge number of breeding fish during the 60-day period.” “Though we had approached senior Fisheries officials to restrict traditional fishermen from fishing during the breeding time, all our pleas fell on deaf ears,” said Parida. Traditional fishermen leader and president of Odisha Matsyajibi Forum Narayan Chandra Haldar said in the past, fishermen having less than 8.5 metre long boats were exempted from the ban and they used to catch fish in sea during the breeding period.
“But two years back, some Fishery officials, in connivance with trawler and big mechanised vessel owners, debarred traditional fishermen from venturing into the sea during the breeding period. However, officials have allowed us to fish during the breeding period since last year,” Haldar said. Most of the traditional marine fishermen are poor and fish near the shore. They are not a threat to most of the breeding fish species which reproduce by spawning in deep sea water, said Haldar.
Trawling is one of the two fishing methods in which the vessel speeds in the open sea with a net trailing behind it to catch all fish on its path. During monsoon, which is the breeding season, the force of a trawler’s engine can disturb the seabed, where fish eggs are buried, and throw them up into the water, thereby preventing them from hatching.
But fishermen, with less than 8.5 metre long boats, fish only in territorial waters and catch only pelagic fish during the ban period, added Haldar. Joint Director, Fisheries (Marine) department Pratap Rout said, “As per order of the Union Government, we allowed fishermen having less than 8.5 meter long boats to fish during the breeding period.” The Government has imposed restrictions on fishing in sea to conserve fish stock during the breeding period. Monsoon is the breeding season of nearly 300 species along the coast of Odisha. The fishing ban extends to 12 nautical miles off Odisha coast, Rout added.
Breeding season for fish
Boats, which are less than 8.5 metre in length, will be allowed to venture into the sea duringthe fishing ban period from April 15 to June 14 which is the breeding season for fish.
The ban aims at conserving fish species during the monsoon which is the spawning season
for many varieties of fish, including shrimps
Most of the traditional marine fishermen are poor and fish near the shore.