CHENNAI: Fisherfolk fear a double blow to their livelihood as they would have to remain off shores due to the annual fishing ban across the East Coast, starting on April 15, immediately after the last day of lockdown. Currently, the State government has imposed a ban on fishing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A Soundar, head of Fishermen’s Union at Kasimedu said, their lives have gone into jeopardy due to the ban, and it may become hard in the coming months as over 2,000 boats from Kasimedu will not venture into the waters. “We would earn at least `500 a day if we went to the sea. But now, since many markets are closed, most fish caught have already perished,’’ he said.
Soundar added that considering the Central government’s mandatory fishing ban to increase the growth of fish in sea, the State could at least allow regulated fishing till April 14, or give an increased compensation.
“The government can regulate the number of boats going into the sea instead of a blanket ban. In each boat, only two people would go, and fishermen can be given safety kits too,’’ said K Bharathi, President of South Indian Fishermen’s Association, adding that currently fish is being imported from neighbouring states for higher costs.
“We hope the State government would interfere in the matter and reduce the ban period, as we have already not been fishing since March 22,’’ said Bharathi.
Officials from the Fisheries Department said they were considering writing to the Centre on the issue. “Fisherman would have almost served a one month ban by April 14. We would request the Centre to see if the mandatory ban can be reduced,’’ said an official.