KARAIKAL: Fibreglass boat fishers in Kariakal have requested permission to resume fishing in the ongoing lockdown and ban period. They are currently under the fishing ban like their mechanised boat counterparts. Puducherry government officials took the decision this year after fishers were allowed to venture out to sea the previous year. Karaikal fibreglass fishers are growing anxious seeing their Nagapattinam counterparts who have been allowed to fish in the ban season. "The fibreglass fishers want to fish at least thrice a week. They need to survive. We need fish at least to guarantee our food. Nagai fishers are fishing now, please allow Karaikal fishers to fish as well," said S Murali, a fisher from Kilinjalmedu.
There are about 400 fibreglass fishing boats in 11 villages in the district. The villages are Mandapathur, Kaalikuppam, Akkampettai, Kottucherrimedu, Kasakudimedu, Kilinjalmedu, Karaikalmedu, Madhagadi, Karukkalacheri, TR Pattinam Pattinacherri and Vadakkuvanjore. All have been banned from fishing.
There was an initial consideration to allow fibreglass boat fishers to fish during the ban season this year, like every year before. But it was dropped after officials in Puducherry objected to fishing altogether during the ban season, which is meant to allow fish to breed. Then, they had allowed catamarans and other non-motorised vessels to fish, as they do not have engines. The fishers stated the new directive has been hard on them. "We are used to fishing only in fibreglass boats. We cannot sail in catamarans as we are not proficient with them. It is like asking us to ride bicycles after we are accustomed to motorcycles. We want to fish in our fibreglass boats. If we are allowed to fish, we assure we would follow all rules." said G Dhanabal, a fisher representative from TR Pattinam Pattanacheri Speaking to TNIE, Deputy Director, Fisheries department, R Kaviyarasan, said, "We have written to the government to consider the possibilities of allowing fibreglass boat fishers to fish at least thrice a week. We are hopeful of getting a favourable response."