KOCHI:Once again, the annual trawling ban imposed by the State Government, which is set to begin on Sunday night, has brought the issues of ‘sustainable fishing’ and the ‘rationale of regulations’ to the fore, with some fisher organisations demanding extension of the ban up to 90 days and the boat-owners terming it ‘ill conceived’.
“We have always held that the trawl ban should be extended to 90 days to protect the pelagic fish stock, which is being overexploited,” said Kerala Swathantra Malsyathozhilali Federation general secretary Jackson Pollayil. “The opposition to the Central Government’s ban has somewhat been misconstrued as opposition to all fishing regulations,” he said.
At least, three expert committees constituted by the State Government had recommended 90 days’ bottom trawling ban during monsoon. The government should take steps to endorse experts’ suggestions and extend the ban in the wake of the alarming depletion of fish stock,” demanded a meeting of traditional boat owners last week.
The boat owners, however, questioned the rationale of the ‘annual affair’, and demanded that the government re-look the monsoon trawl ban imposed over the past 27 years.
“The government should take stock of the situation and conduct an impartial study on the effect of the trawl ban and check whether it has brought in any positive effect on fish stock,” said Kerala Boat Owners Association general secretary Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal.
“The latest statistics of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute show that sardine and mackerel landings have dwindled by more than 30 per cent, despite the ban. A report by the expert committee on uniform fishing ban states that there was no conclusive evidence to prove any positive improvement in fish stock,” said Joseph Xavier.
“The government should consider the Murari Committee recommendations to stop destructive fishing by deep-see fishing vessels that obtained the ‘Letter of Permission’ to exploit the marine resources and bring in effective management policies,” he added.