The All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association has approached the Centre to shorten the span of the annual monsoon fishing ban that starts in Kerala in June.
In a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the association points out that imposing a fishing ban for 61 days from June 1 to July 31 along the west coast region will put the fishers in extreme distress. Though the same period was notified in 2020, the Centre later issued an order limiting the uniform fishing ban to 47 days. “Last time the annual ban started immediately after the fishing ban imposed by the government to check the spread of COVID-19. The sector suffered untold miseries during the two stretches of fishing ban,” said Joseph Xavier Kalapurackal, general secretary of the association.
Dip in catch
The boat operators are viewing the second wave of the pandemic with much apprehension and they believe that a second blow will completely destroy the sector. Another concern for the sector is the dip in the catch that points to a substantial depletion of marine resources. The association points out the hike in diesel price and restrictions imposed by importing companies due to the pandemic have also hit the sector.
According to them, the water currents in the sea underwent drastic changes due to the changing climatic condition and global warming, altering the migratory nature of fish. “It can be mitigated if fishing is permitted during the monsoon when fish resources in our sea are aplenty. The southern States of India experience abundance of fish during the monsoon,” they say.
Limit to 30 days
The association has appealed to the Centre to reduce the days of the monsoon ban to 30 so that the sector can tide over the crisis. It also requests the Centre to conduct a study on the propagation, migration and other related issues of marine resources as they feel that the report that backs the monsoon ban has become outdated. “Monsoon season is the only period when the fishing folk can profitably fish in the sea. Extending the period of ban to 61 days will push the community to abject poverty. There is no point in keeping the ban as a routine business,” they say.