NAGAPATTINAM: With the Sunday lockdown in effect, fishermen in the coastal delta region had a day of mixed inpact. While some adjusted their schedules to observe the lockdown, some went fishing early.
Some fishers chose to follow the rules by staying on the shore while some bypassed by departing earlier than the stipulated time of the lockdown.
There are two major types of fishermen -- mechanised boat fishermen and the motorised boat fishermen. The mechanised boat fishermen carry out fishing for a period of three to seven days. Among the mechanised boat fishermen, some of those who fish in trawlers had gone to sea on Saturday, and would return only by Tuesday. The fishers in deep-sea fishing boats had gone as early as Wednesday. Such mechanised boat fishers spent their Sunday in the sea.
“Many of our mechanised boat fishermen are still at sea. They will spend the full lockdown day fishing, as usual, try to complete filling the fish-holds and then return to the shore after Monday,” said G Veeramuthu, a fisherman-representative from Akkaraipettai.
The motorised fishermen, also known as traditional fishermen, fish for about one to two days.
The motorised fishermen leave for sea at different times according to the catch they want.
Some leave in the wee hours to catch sardines (‘matthi meen’), some around noon to catch seer (‘vanjiram meen’), some in the afternoon to catch crabs, and some in the evening to catch crockers (‘panna meen’), mackerel (‘kaanankeluthi’), and ribbon fish (‘vaalai meen’).
M Durgeshwaran, a fisher-representative from Kodiyakarai, said, “Those who left on Saturday evening will return early morning on Monday. Those who leave from dawn to afternoon have chosen to stay back on shore on Sunday, and will depart for fishing on Monday.”
Although the schedules are contrasting, the district administration and Fisheries Department have banned congregating at the harbours and fish landing centres on Sunday as part of the lockdown. “We have banned fish procurement and sales altogether because the crowd would become uncontrollable. We did not mind the fishermen leaving for sea early, as the gatherings will contribute more to the spread of the virus,” said an official from the Fisheries department.