KOCHI: The restrictions imposed by the Fisheries Department in fishing activities along the Kerala coast, in view of the cyclonic storm in the Indian Ocean, has upset the fishermen community in the state. Fishing boat operators allege the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) are exaggerating the situation as the rough sea conditions and gusty winds are not unusual during this period.
With just one more month to go for the annual 50-day trawl ban to begin, the fishermen had intensified fishing activities last week as they found some fishing grounds with presence of threadfin bream, squid and lizard fish. However, the IMD issued an advisory on Wednesday stopping fishermen from venturing into the seas in view of the depression in the India Ocean.
“The IMD issued an advisory even before the low pressure intensified into a depression. Though it started moving towards the Bay of Bengal, they continued issuing alerts, which prompted the KSDMA and Fisheries Department to stop fishermen from setting out for fishing. The impact of the cyclone is minimal in the Arabian sea and the restrictions are unnecessary,” said Boat Owners Coordination Committee chairman P P Gireesh.
The boat owners allege the IMD has been exaggerating the climatic conditions after they failed to predict the Cyclone Ockhi and the torrential rains that triggered flood in Kerala. “We were stopped from venturing into sea 44 times after the Ockhi disaster. Most of the times the alerts were proved to be unnecessary. The alerts are not scientific.
Wind speed touching 30-40 km is not unusual during this season. We have to bear the expenses of the boat workers and if they are stopped from venturing into the sea for a single day, each boat owner will incur a loss of `30,000,” said All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association general secretary Joseph Xavier.Around 250 fishing boats had set out for fishing on April 22 after celebrating Easter. As the IMD issued an alert the Fisheries Department contacted the boats and asked them to return.