KOCHI: Office-bearers of the All-Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association has urged the State Government to consider shifting the 47-day monsoon trawling ban along the Kerala coast to November and December for three years consecutively, on an experimental basis.
“’The proposed 61-day fishing ban is confusing. Even scientists in various committees defer in their findings. While a committee headed by directors of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute recommends a 61-day ban on all the indigenous mechanised vessels/boats, the report by Meena Kumari limits the ban to native fishing and recommends no ban on foreign vessels engaged in deep sea fishing. When the reports by the committees headed by eminent scientists are at loggerheads, it has to be verified as to whose recommendations are credible,” said Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal, secretary of the organisation.
“Most of the recommendations by policymakers, scientists and bureaucrats are made without systematic assessment of the socio-economic and conservation issues in the sector,” alleged Joseph Xavier. “It is essential that someone who is unbiased be appointed to study the matter further.”
“Trawling ban was initially imposed in Kerala in 1988, and 26 years have passed since then. However, the committee entrusted to study the monsoon trawling ban found that there has not been any significant growth in fisheries resources along the Kerala coast as a result of the trawling ban, over the years. Instead, certain species of prawns and fish such as ‘Karikkadi’ and catfish are missing since then, and no study has been conducted so far on it,” Joseph Xavier pointed out. “Many eminent scientists have often shared the opinion that the claim of increase in fisheries resources after the ban was not correct, as much as the claim that mechanisation of traditional country boats could help harness large resources,” he said.
The Association has submitted a memorandum to Fisheries Minister K Babu with its suggestions to revive the sector. “In the wake of the differences of opinion between scientists, it is high time a discussion involving those who are in the fishing sector for many years and capable of feeling the pulse of the availability of fish in different seasons in the sea is organised’’ the boat operators suggested.