KOCHI: There is strong resentment among the traditional fishermen in the State over failure of the regulatory mechanism in checking illegal trawling of pelagic fish and the ever dwindling catch.
It is alleged that there has been attempts from some quarters to scuttle the efforts by traditional fisherfolk - from Punnapra in Alappuzha to Nattika in Thrissur - to self-regulate unsustainable fishing practices, including pelagic trawling and juvenile fishing. “A meeting of traditional fishers, scientists and other stakeholders held here on June 27 had decided to practice self-regulation and to constitute permanent management committees in every landing centre.
“The decision was a historic one, and traditional fishermen from Punnapra to Nattika continue to abstain from unsustainable fishing and juvenile fishing,” said Kerala Malsyathozhilali Aikyavedi convener Charles George.
“It is a big thing. Though every single fishing trip costs fishers `10,000-25,000, they continue to avoid catching juveniles. But, unfortunately, pelagic and sub-pelagic trawling continues unabated,” he added.
“It is very disturbing and unfortunate that some boats are still engaged in pelagic trawling and night fishing. The Fisheries Department and the Marine Enforcement Wing should act tough against the illegal activity,” said Munambam Boat Owners Coordination Committee chairman P P Girish, and alleged that boats from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were to blame for the ‘destructive’ fishing.
“However hard we try to practice self-regulation, fishing boats from the other states continue unscientific fishing off the Kerala coast. The authorities should impound the boats engaged in night fishing and pelagic trawling, so that the practice would come to an end,” said Girish. “Traditional fisherfolk have decided to practice self-regulation, and a significant number of boat owners have extended support to it. However, unmindful and illegal exploitation of fishery resources is continuing,” said Kerala Parambaragata Malsyathozhilali Union convener Jackson Pollayil.
The Union is planning to lay siege to fishing harbours across the State soon, demanding tough measures to curb illegal fishing.