KOCHI: The nine-member expert committee, set up to study the impact of trawling ban along Kerala coast, has made certain crucial recommendations including that the period of trawling ban be extended from 47 days to 60. A major finding is that the positive impact of trawling ban was not sustaining after 1997.
Fishing vessels capable of carrying out operation outside 12 nautical miles should possess not only VHF but also radio telephone (RT), stated the committee constituted by the government to evaluate fish wealth and the impact of trawl ban for 25 years along the Kerala coast. It also recommended the Department of Fisheries to enter into dialogue with the Ministry of Communication for enabling deep sea-going vessels to be fitted with RT facilities.
“This is an urgent sea safety requirement for which the Department of Fisheries has to play a facilitator’s role,” said the report submitted to the state government.
Another suggestion was to get permission of Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) to register fishing vessels with length over all (LOA) up to 24 metres with safety and navigational features.
The committee further recommended that the drivers and srangs of vessels should undergo a detailed 10-day course on navigation and mechanical skills.
“The rule that mechanised fishing vessels be operated by certified drivers or srangs should be made mandatory within a year,” the committee recommends.
The economic analysis held as part of the study indicated that the benefit of trawling ban, in terms of value, was sustained up to the year 2000 only. After that, there had been a decline in the value of fisheries and the income of fishermen, despite an increase in the nominal value.
At the same time, the growth rate analysis indicated that the growth rate in the mechanised fishing sector has declined after 2000.
The committee felt that issuance of blanket licences to fishing vessels be stopped, and licences be issued on the basis of the gear and the size of the mesh used.