KOCHI: Though the Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday revised its earlier order imposing uniform fishing ban by exempting “traditional non-motorised units,” it failed to bring cheer on the fishers here who continue to defy the ban.
The revised order signed by Yoginder Kumar, Under secretary to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF), said that the traditional non-motorised units will be exempted from uniform fishing ban imposed in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (12 to 200 nautical miles) beyond territorial waters.
Almost all the traditional fishing boats in Kerala are motorised and the revised order mocks the fisherfolk here, say the office-bearers of the Kerala Fisheries Coordination Committee (KFCC) that spearheads the struggle against the uniform ban. “More than 90 per cent of fishing boats here are upgraded and motorised, using outboard or inboard engines for propulsion. Even the ‘catamarans’ and dug-outs are propelled by two horse power engines,” said V Dinakaran, chairman of the KFCC.
The centre’s definition of traditional fishermen excludes most of the traditional fishermen in the state, said Charles George, leader of the Kerala Malsyathozhilali Aikyavedi (TUCI). This revised order is just an eyewash and mocks the struggling fisherfolk here. “It is quite generous of them to have allowed us to row up to 200 nautical miles with bare hands,” he said sarcastically.
The situation in Kerala is entirely different from that of other states. “Pelagic fishing or surface or sub-surface fishing is prevalent in Kerala, Lakshadweep, some parts of Karnataka and Goa,” Dinakaran said.