Plea to save fishers trapped in Diego Garcia

Many fishermen from south India are compelled to venture far and wide due to the lack of adequate catch within India’s maritime borders.

Published: 08th March 2017 01:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2017 03:37 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Many fishermen from south India are compelled to venture far and wide due to the lack of adequate catch within India’s maritime borders.
The lack of signs marking the borders prove detrimental to the fishers who cross over to the territory of other countries and end up in the hands of the law enforcement agencies there.

The incident of 32 fishermen from Kerala being detained by the British Navy for crossing into the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia last week has brought the problem to the fore once again. According to fishermen here, two fishing boats - Al-Ameen from Kochi and Mermaid from Thiruvananthapuram - were involved in deep sea fishing when the British Navy apprehended them for crossing over into their territory.   
The boats had left Kochi harbour on February 5 and were supposed to return by the first week of March. The families of the fishermen were intimated of the detention and they have sought the help of the government in releasing them.

Kerala Matsyathozhilali Aikyavedi state president Charles George said the setting up of a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) for effective communication and regulation is the need of the hour to stop such incidents from repeating.
“Fishermen are out there to make a living and go where they would get a good catch. RFMO has been working effectively in many countries and it has to be implemented here,” he said.

At present, the Kerala Marine
Fisheries Regulation Act (KMFRA) does not suggest any laws to regulate fishermen from crossing over, but
proposes a fine for the fishermen who do it.

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