KOCHI: The benefit of trawling ban has not been sustained in the State, and there have been a decline in fishery resources during the past 17 years, according to a study conducted by an expert committee, comprising scientists and technicians.
“The positive effect of trawling ban was sustained only until 1997. Thereafter, the fishery yield has been declining. The decline after 2000 is approximately one lakh tonnes,” the experts said.
According to the report by the expert committee, the economic analysis carried out 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, in spite of 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 become negative after 2000.
The expert committee has recommended that the existing 47-day ban on trawling be extended to 60 days in two different periods - during June and November. The committee also recommended a new 60-day ban on ring seining of pelagic fish during April and May, which is the peak of the spawning period.
The committee further recommended that the 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 in trawlers.
“Necessary amendments in this regard should be made to the KMFR Act. The licence should be valid for two years and should be issued only after inspecting the vessel. Up to two licences could be issued to a registered fishing vessel for trawling and gill netting,” the experts suggested.
Another suggestion is that a provision for the temporary cancellation of licences should be included in the KMFRA Act. The committee, with Fisheries Department additional director Saira Banu as chairperson, included Central Marine Fisheries Institute (CMFRI) principal scientists K Sunil Mohammed and T V Sathianandan; P Pravin and M V Baiju of the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT); Fisheries Department law officer Chandrasekharan Nair; and State Fisheries Resource Management Society (FIRMA) executive director P Sahadevan.
Fisheries Department (Marine) deputy director Laila Devi was the convener and, Fisheries Department technical assistant P S Sivaprasad was the co-convener.
Commenting on the report, Fisheries Minister K Babu said that the government was looking into the recommendations by the experts.
“Enforcing such a regulation is not practical. The government has to discuss the matter with the stake-holders and seek their views. As a first step, the recommendations will be translated into Malayalam and distributed to fishermen organisations. Let them express their views on the matter. The government will take a final decision after consulting the fishermen community,” the minister said.