KOCHI: The Department of Fisheries should regulate the use of destructive fishing gears immediately and remove non-licensed stakenets within one year, considering their negative impact on resources, suggested an expert committee that studied the impact of trawling ban along the Kerala coast.
The Committee also urged the State Government to insist on mesh size of 24 mm on the codend of stake nets, as recommended by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT).
It is recommended that the Department of Fisheries prohibit the operation of mini trawlers in a phased manner.
“The Department should also formulate a registration and licence buyback scheme to help fishermen using mini trawlers to take up alternative vocations.
“Mini trawlers should be phased out in five years, and the licences of the existing mini trawlers should not be renewed,” the committee suggested.
The Committee pointed out that the Marine Products Areas (MPA) would become necessary in the near future.
“Therefore, the Department of Fisheries should initiate awareness campaigns, particularly in the Thiruvananthapuram district, in the next five years, so that the MPAs could be introduced within the next 10 years. The committee strongly recommended that the State Government urge the Ministry of Agriculture form proper rules and regulations for fishing, from 12 to 200 nautical miles, to stop fishing by foreign vessels that operate with Letter of Permission (LoP) from the Ministry of Agriculture.
“If ring seiners (OBM and IBM )are using mechanised power to deploy and haul the net they would lose their traditional status and come under the category of ‘mechanised’. Therefore, the 20/30-metre zonal restriction should be applicable to them,” the Committee recommended.
The 10-member Committee comprised top officials of the Department of Fisheries and senior scientists from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute and the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT).
Aimed at the effective management of fishery resources, the Committee has also made several recommendations on subjects such as regulation of license and capacity of vessels and the period of trawling ban.