KOCHI: Around 600 fishing vessels from Ernakulam district set sail on Friday after the 47-day-long trawling ban came to an end the previous midnight. The fishermen, with an eye on monsoon, expect a good catch in the initial days of trawling.
According to Joseph Kalapurackal, general secretary of the All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association, the monsoon getting stronger is a good sign for trawling boats that would spread its nets deep in the water. “The monsoon was quite late this year and it affected the fishermen folk who mostly lay their nets on the surface level of the sea. But the late monsoon has been better, which is good news for trawling boats that carry out fishing at 50 metre-100 metre water depth. The tide would be favourable and fishes lying deep can be netted easily. Though the weather is turbulent and risky, most of the trawling boats are heavy and can survive high seas. The boats initially carry out fishing upto a radius of 50 to 70 kilometre. Later, as the catch decreases they travel upto a distance of 150 kilometre. The boats will be returning only by Saturday or Sunday,” he said.
The fishermen have set their eyes on Karikkadi shrimps as it begets a good price and are mostly exported. “On the first day we usually get Threadfin breams (kilimeen), squids and other shrimp and prawn varieties. Karikkadi shrimps are a lucky catch and fetch high prices in the market.
But in the previous year, very few boats were able to net Karikkadi shrimps,” Mathew K C, a boat owner said.
Most of the boats in Kochi arrive at the Kochi Fisheries harbour, Munnabam harbour and Vypeen harbour. The trend in the previous years has been such that boats from Tamil Nadu arrive at the harbours first with the catch. These boats start from their harbour in Tamil Nadu few days before the trawling ban in Kerala is lifted. They net the first catch and sell it at the harbours in Kerala. As of now, there is no ban on trawling in Tamil Nadu.
“The boats from other states mint money from the trawling ban in Kerala. During the ban here, they carry out fishing in the eastern coasts and once the ban is lifted they come back to the western coasts.
Unlike the situation here, boats from Kerala are not permitted to dock at the harbours in other states,” Joseph Kalapurackal said. The middlemen in harbours have become active players in increasing and decreasing the prices of fishes.