KOCHI: With the deep depression over East Equatorial Indian Ocean expected to intensify into a cyclonic storm by Sunday morning, the inability to track around 100 fishing boats that ventured into the sea after Easter has fuelled anxiety among the fishers in Kochi.
There are around 600 fishing boats, including trawlers and longliners, operating from Kochi and Munambam harbours of which around 250 boats had set off for deep sea fishing after Easter. The boat owners and Fisheries Department contacted around 150 boats and asked them to reach the nearest harbour immediately. While the trawlers go on a fortnight-long fishing expedition, the longliners and gill net boats go on a month-long deep sea fishing.
Meanwhile, a few boats ventured into the sea, violating the ban on Friday night. Following this the Fisheries Department, the Coastal police and the Marine Enforcement Wing have intensified patrolling in the coastal areas. The fuel stations have been instructed to stop distributing diesel to fishing boats until further orders.
The Fisheries Department has been sending voice messages advising the fishermen to return to the nearest harbour from Wednesday.
However, lack of communication system to contact fishermen engaged in deep sea fishing is putting a damper on the efforts to contact them. The coverage of mobile phones and wireless equipment is limited to only a few kilometres and there is no mechanism to contact the fishing boats beyond this range.
Though the government had decided to provide satellite phones and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) equipment to the fishing boats on subsidised rate after the Ockhi disaster, the project is yet to be implemented.
“The traditional fishers have not ventured into the sea after we issued the alert. However, a few trawlers went into the sea unnoticed on Friday night, ignoring our warning. We have intensified patrolling along the coast and no boat will be allowed to venture into the sea hereafter,” said Fisheries Deputy Director S Mahesh.
The fishermen argue that there is no need to panic as the depression is moving towards the Bay of Bengal and though the sea is rough it is navigable. They allege that the Meteorological Department has been overreacting to extreme weather conditions after its failure in issuing timely alert during cyclone Ockhi and the floods.
Fani to bring in heavy showers with gusty wind
T’Puram : The state government has alerted all agencies to take precautionary measures as the depression over the Bay of Bengal continues to move west-northwest forming into cyclonic storm Fani. As a result, the state will experience heavy showers from Monday and with wind speed reaching up to 30-60 km from Sunday to Tuesday. According to weathermen, the depression over east Equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards, intensified into a deep depression early on Saturday, over the same region.