KOCHI: Hit by adverse conditions and appalled by the dwindling catch, traditional fishermen along the Kochi coast have decided to put in place a shore management system to ensure that sustainable fishing practices are followed.
A joint conference of 75 traditional fishing boat operators from the Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts; scientists from central fisheries institutes; Matsyafed officials and representatives of fisher organisations, which was held at Vyepeen here the other day, put forth certain suggestions in the larger interest of the fisheries sector. The fishers attended the meeting also decided to follow sustainable fishing practices.
“The catch of pelagic fish, including sardine, mackerel and anchovies, recorded a sharp fall recently.
“For the past 18 days, most of the boats are not venturing into the sea for want of fish,” said representatives of the traditional fish workers.
The conference discussed the issue threadbare and decided to bring in self regulation. Overexploitation of marine fish resources and undesirable fishing tendencies, including the alarming increase in juvenile trawling, were cited as a major reason for the depletion.
Announcing the decisions taken at the conference, which was organised by the Kerala Traditional Fish Workers Union, Charles George of the Union warned that the fisheries sector would be hit hard if the dismal conditions prevailed.
At the meeting, the fishing boat operators resolved to avoid catching juveniles, and to strictly adhere to night fishing regulations. Shore-level management committees at fish landing centres will be formed to check destructive fishing practices.
Initially, committees will be formed at Kalamukku and Chellanam here; Arthunkal in Alappuzha and Azheekode in Thrissur. The traditional fish workers also urged trawl boat operators to abstain from juvenile fishing. The meeting also recommended a total ban on pelagic trawling, and a moratorium on new boat licences.
“The recommendations of the conference will be submitted to the State Government soon,” said the organisers.