NAGAPATTINAM: The banned fishing practices are soon to be dealt by law as the fisheries department will have its law enforcement entity called the Marine Enforcement Wing (MEW), operational in two months. The wing is part of a state-wide initiative of the animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries department to enforce Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Act (TMFRA).
“The Marine Enforcement Wing will give the much-needed teeth to the fisheries department in tackling banned fishing practices, conflicts, coastal violations and other means of illegal activities. The fisheries department had been requesting for its law enforcement wing. It will become fully operational by the end of January,” said R Amal Xavier, joint director of Nagapattinam Fisheries Department.
Nagapattinam has the longest coastline of 187 kilometres. It has 50 fishing villages, 3 major harbours and 5963 registered vessels. There are a lot of unregistered vessels also, both mechanized and non-mechanized. Nagapattinam will have the most number of staffs in the State’s Marine Enforcement Wing. It will have 112 staff in 19 units in 13 coastal districts across the State under the Directorate of Fisheries.
It should be noted that there have been several cases of banned fishing by Nagapattinam fishers like purse seine, pair trawling, usage of nets with very small mesh sizes and high-speed engines in the past few years. There were also violations such as fishing close to the shore and conflicts between fishing communities over the usage of the fishing harbor.
As per the government order, Nagapattinam district will get 14 personnel in two units of the Marine Enforcement Wing under the Joint Director of Fisheries Department. It includes two inspectors, eight sub-inspectors, and four support staffs. They will be deployed as two teams of seven members each under the assistant director of fisheries in Nagapattinam’s North and South regions.
The police department will recruit the staff, offer the training, and assign them to Marine Enforcement Wing. The officials in Nagapattinam said the recruitment would be done in January. The Law and order branch of the police has been currently supporting the department until the MEW gets permanent workers.